Around 200 people, some wearing blindfolds and vegetable costumes, attended “What’s on Our Plates?” last week, a community forum in northeast Albuquerque.
Organizers say the purpose of the meeting was to inform the public about genetically-engineered (GE) foods and push the city for legislation that would require companies to label genetically-engineered foods.
Yong Jung Cho, field organizer for Food & Water Watch, said the forum is just one of many of an ongoing campaign to make labeling of GE food mandatory by law.
“There are no long-term studies proving that genetically engineered foods are safe for human consumption or for the environment and yet the Federal Drug Administration still doesn’t require labeling. However at the heart of the issue is consumers deserve the right to know what we are eating and what we are feeding our families.”
Genetically engineered crops are created by transferring genetic material from one organism into another to create specific traits, such as resistance to treatment with herbicides… or to make a plant produce its own pesticides to repel insects.
Some of the most common genetically-engineered foods are corn, alfalfa, cotton and soybeans. In 1992, the FDA approved Calgene’s Flavr Savr™ tomatoes making it the first genetically modified food to be sold in U.S. stores.
Earlier this year the New Mexico State Senate voted down a bill that if passed would have made it mandatory for companies to label of genetically-engineered food throughout the state.
However, the city of Santa Fe passed a resolution about two weeks ago making it mandatory to label foods that contain genetically-engineered food products.
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Thanks to Lynn for some of today’s links.
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The Food and Drug Administration ordered the seizure of chile products from a warehouse in Derry, N.M.
U.S. Marshals confiscated the chile from Duran and Sons. (I’ve got a call in to the FDA to find out how much was seized, and how this chile is usually distributed.) According to the complaint filed by the FDA, inspectors discovered:
• “Widespread insect and rodent infestation”
• Rodent excreta pellets on and around the food
• Stains that looked like rodent urine
• “Investigators observed and photographed rodent nesting material on finished product.”
• Cats and birds
• Insects, larvae and moths
According to this 2007 High Country News article, Duran and Sons grows 140 acres of chile and processes 600,000 pounds every year.
There was no answer yesterday or today when the Alibi called the chile company. Owner Carl Duran told the Associated Press that he’d been cooperating with the FDA, and the raid was a surprise. He also said the seized chile was slated for destruction anyway.