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FDA may not be counting your vote for GE labeling

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One million people told FDA last week that they want genetically engineered foods to be labeled—or did they? Not so fast, says the agency.

Last week’s celebratory announcement that the Just Label It campaign surpassed the goal of 1 million signatures in favor of GMO labeling was severely undermined this morning with the news that the FDA is only counting them as 394 separate comments. Although the JLI campaign collected and submitted the most number of signatures than any other petition in FDA’s history, yours might not be counted.

Why? "Because FDA’s rules say that if tens of thousands of people sign a single petition or submit the same form letter, they are only counted as one collective comment," reported the Organic Authority.

Since when does the FDA reserve the right to artificially lower the volume on the collective voice of the public? What should we have done differently to be heard?

The Just Label It campaign took great strides in educating consumers about genetically engineered ingredients that are used in nearly 80 percent of processed foods in the United States. Over a million of those consumers have demanded the right to know if their food contains GMOs, but the vast majority of us don’t count.

I wonder: Is my signature one that the FDA has effectively erased? And if so, what can I do to ensure it is counted? If the FDA ever considered itself accessible and transparent, now is the time to educate consumers about how to make their voices heard. For instance, what "counts" as a comment?

This hotly debated issue seems stacked against the majority rule. Why do a small number of large chemical companies have a louder voice than 1 million U.S. citizens?

If you were asked to resubmit a comment (according to FDA's preferences), would you?

I would. Just tell me how.

Discuss this Blog Entry 10

Sarah @ Semi-Sweet (not verified)
on Apr 2, 2012

I would submit again, in a heartbeat! This is ridiculous.

Jeffrey Von Stetten (not verified)
on Apr 2, 2012

I'd absolutely resend my stuff in. Just send out a link to the list of people who opted in to be kept informed of the situation, send the instructions for the correct format and link, and let people resend their info. That's what lists are for! Even if we hit 50% that's more than enough to make something happen, and we could get even more along the way. Let's make this go viral!

Bam! Just like that!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 2, 2012

Only someone who mistakenly believes FDA is accountable to the public would be "shocked" by the agency's unique method of counting.

If the industry would have petitioned congress,the holder of FDA's purse strings,the outcome might have been different.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2012

Yes...we will not be discouraged ...resubmit the petition...tell all to change one word in the letter so that it has the same message with one new word change...like persistent :)

sandi (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2012

Go to the news channnels and let them know just exactly how the FDA handles that. make it known to all that is what our opinion is worth to the FDA, they do not care if we want to stay healthy or not.

WookiesRule (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2012

What is the point of the Just Label it campaign? prevent GMOs from entering our bodies? What about the fact that golden rice has improved the nutrition and health of millions?

Ronald Pecoff (not verified)
on Apr 3, 2012

This is why so many "Thinking " American have no faith in the American System of Government . As is obvious the FDA is supported in many ways by Monsanto and others that can't afford to have the truth reviled. Shame on them for deceiving the citizens of this country, I once valued our governments integrity but no longer.

RP

on Apr 3, 2012

Thanks for all your comments. You can read the latest on the JLI blog: www.justlabelit.org

on Apr 4, 2012

My Good Food Friends-

The REAL question is WHERE was the coverage, in the first place, on the ‘Just Label It’ Campaign that delivered ‘a record 1,000,000,000 signatures’ on a Petition to the FDA asking to Label GMOS in food? You’d a thought that would have been considered a pretty big deal by Media. But, NOTHING appeared anywhere in Print, Radio or TV of import.

Sure, there were some Blogs/Reports from our ‘choir’, but we’re only talking to ourselves. Evidently we’ve NOT made ‘The Case to Label GMOS’, for the NEED to label, to the general consuming Public, ‘cause if the Media thought the public was interested, they would have reported on it: “A record number of signatures were delivered today to the FDA.”

We’ve got to stop taking just to ourselves and make a clear, cogent and convincing case for labeling, making the case to the general consuming Public, not over and over again to our tiny, tiny minority that’s ALREADY convinced.

The ‘Just Label It’ group DIDN’T make THAT clear, cogent and convincing case for labeling as no Media thought the need to label was worth reporting on.

And with regards to the ‘surprise’ disqualification of signatures, the ‘Just Label It’ leadership should have known of the ‘rules’ and planned for success around them. This ‘rule’ has been true for years, that online petitions are ‘viewed’ as just ‘one’ comment. This “we’re surprised” thing just doesn’t get it in this most important issue of our times: The ever-increasing GMO contamination of Organic Agriculture portends the end of Organics.

Here’s another current example of no mainstream Media buzz: The California Initiative to Label GMO Food: I had coffee with a Good Food Friend from the Bay Area who is well aware of Organic Issues and she has not read or heard anything about the Initiative, its momentum or its need.

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Dennis L. Weaver, MBA, GFG
Founder
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