Many rally in Charlotte for GE food labels

By Renee Maas, director of Food & Water Watch | Mar 22, 2013

Charlotte — Consumer groups, concerned citizens and local food celebrities hosted a rally in downtown Charlotte Thursday to demand that genetically engineered (GE) foods be labeled.

The groups gathered to send a message to Rep. Becky Carney that they have the right to know what's in the food they feed to their families, as well as the right to know how that food was produced. Consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch joined Charlotte-based food investigative food writer and activist “Food Babe” Vani Hari, Harvest Moon Grille owner/chef Cassie Parsons to launch Let Me Decide, a campaign and statewide call-in day where citizens urged Rep. Carney to introduce a bill to label GE foods.

Genetically engineered ingredients are hidden in many of the foods we eat, but are unlabeled. Currently, there are no long-term studies on humans that prove whether or not GE foods are safe to eat. Just as food products require fat, sodium and sugar content labels, they should also disclose genetically engineered ingredients.

“Over 60 countries around the world require GMOs to be labeled or regulated,” said food writer/activist Vani Hari, known throughout Charlotte as Food Babe. “Despite polls consistently showing that more than 90 percent of the population wants GMOs labeled, our leaders in Washington refuse to acknowledge this truth and will not implement mandatory GMO-labeling at the federal level. This is why North Carolina has to be the leader.”

"As a chef who promotes sustainable, local products, transparency is everything,” said Cassie Parons, Owner/Chef at Harvest Moon Grille and owner/farmer of Greatful Grower Farms. With more consumers choosing to buy sustainable and local ingredients everyday, that transparency is a critical part of any food purveyor's brand and their ability to survive in the current and future marketplace. We all have a right to know what ingredients are contained in our food—in some cases people's lives even depend on it—and I feel a tremendous responsibility to honor that right by providing information about all ingredients in any food that I grow, prepare and sell. People use that information to make better decisions about food and diet, and to promote better health. To hide that information is dishonest."

Our children’s bodies develop at such a fast pace and thus are more likely to be influenced by GE foods,” said Charlotte resident and mother Mandie Parrish. “Studies on GE foods have been done in other countries and these foods are labeled or regulated. Just as food labels tell us what ingredients, calories and nutrient content are in what we eat, they should also tell us if any ingredients are genetically engineered. If North Carolina legislators passed a simple bill to require labeling of GE foods, that’s one task they could take off a busy Mom's plate.”

Renée Maas, North Carolina Campaign Director, rmaas@fwwatch.org919-593-7752

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.