This Thursday, January 19th, 2012, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee will be voting on AB-88 (Huffman): whether or not to require labeling of genetically-modified (GMO) salmon for sale to eat in California. TO CONTACT THE ASSEMBLYMEMBERS (INCLUDING LOCAL ASSEMBLYMEMBER JERRY HILL, WHO VOTED NO LAST YEAR), PLEASE SCROLL DOWN.
That the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not already approved the sale and distribution of GMO salmon means that they believe a problem exists. This is a basic consumer rights issue, which encompasses all political beliefs and all economic groups.
As this ABC poll suggests, and poll after poll agrees, 93% of U.S. consumers are in support of labeling genetically-modified foods of any kind: http://tinyurl.com/ABCgmoPoll. Companies which produce GMO foods do not want their foods labeled as such because they know consumers will avoid their products. In a pure market economy, consumers must have all the facts at their disposal to make informed choices in order to purchase (and therefore approve) the products they want to use. If a product is deemed defective, it will not be purchased by consumers and it will be removed from shelves. Why then, in our supposed “free market economy,” is there any question about labeling GMO products whatsoever? Money in politics. Period.
With genetic engineering, without much Democratic decision-making at all, a few companies and scientists are trying to change the permanent genetic makeup of all life, life that was made either through divine intervention or through millions of years of evolution. Either way, we have no right – simply for profit, or for research – to change them fundamentally. Regardless of how far we humans have evolved, we are not, ourselves, Gods, and we do not truly understand “life” the same way we understand machines.
With the unchecked spread of genetically-modified soy and corn, a large unscientific experiment is taking place: people and animals are already eating GMO food and feed and we don’t truly know what effects these will have on any organism over the long-term. No long-term study has been conducted; no results published to be refuted. And if the whole of the U.S. population is being exposed to it, there is no control group.
Since probably 95% of all competent scientists in the field of genetic engineering are working for the side of GMO producers and only 5% are truly independent, the USDA and the FDA are generally approving genetically-modified crops and foods based mainly on science provided by companies who will profit from their sale. That means we have a very serious scientific problem in relation to our food, our most important issue, which trickles down into health and water and resource management issues. And, most relevant to the discussion surrounding AB 88, it also means we have a serious Democratic problem.
What we do know, scientifically, is that early-onset diabetes and childhood obesity are both at epidemic proportions in the United States. Children are physically maturing much more rapidly. The ten year-old daughter of one of my friends, much to my friend’s dismay, is developing breasts. At age ten.
It is my opinion that the cause is the difference in food over the last ten years. If you look at labels in markets, corn and soy, both highly genetically-modified crops in the U.S., have become major ingredients in most foods over the past decade. But — and here is my salient point — if you look at the label, you have the choice to avoid those foods.
If the people of California cannot be more effectively protected scientifically and they cannot Democratically choose whether they even want genetically-modified products in their lives (all polls suggest they do not), the choice should not be left up to the companies who have profit incentives whether or not to label their products. Consumers should have the choice to vote in the store by reading the labels, labels reading GMO or non-GMO salmon (and with any other GMO substances). The whole population should not be subjected to potentially harmful substances without their permission or their choice.
This Thursday, 17 members of the California Assembly Appropriations Committee will be voting whether or not to allow the full Assembly to vote on AB-88. We need more votes to pass it out of committee. Please call them to express your support of AB-88 (Huffman) today.
(*** are the ones who need the calls the most. Faxes are also the most useful.)
***Jerry Hill - Dem-19 - (Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, San Bruno, San Mateo, South San Francisco and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County.
Fax: (916) 319-2119
***Holly J. Mitchell - Dem-47 - (Culver City, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Park-Windsor Hills)
Fax: (916) 319-2147
***Felipe Fuentes - Chair - Dem-39 - (Sylmar, San Fernando, Pacoima, Arleta, Mission Hills, Panorama City, North Hills, Sun Valley and portions of Lakeview Terrace, Van Nuys, and North Hollywood)
Fax: (916) 319-2139
***Steven Bradford - Dem-51 - (Hawthorne, Inglewood, Gardena, Lawndale, Alondra Park, Del Aire, West Compton, West Athens, Willowbrook)
Fax: (916) 319-2151
***Charles M. Calderon - Dem-58 - (Downey, Whittier, East La Mirada, East Los Angeles, Hacienda Heights, Industry, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Rowland Heights, South San Gabriel, and South San Jose Hills)
Fax: (916) 319-2158
***Nora Campos - Dem-23 - (San Jose)
Fax: (916) 319-2123
Mike Davis - Dem-48 - (Wilshire Center, Koreatown, Harvard Heights, West Adams, University Park, Exposition Park, West Vernon, Harvard Park, Vermont Knolls, Gramercy Place, Vermont Vista, Westmont, Century Palms)
Fax: (916) 319-2148
Mike Gatto - Dem-43 - (Burbank, Glendale, Griffith Park, Los Feliz, Silverlake)
Fax: (916) 319-2143
***Isadore Hall III - Dem-52 - (Vernon/Main, Avalon Gardens, Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, East Compton, Rancho Dominguez, Paramount)
Fax: (916) 319-2152
***Ricardo Lara - Dem-50 - (South Gate, Commerce, Lynwood, Bellflower, Florence-Graham, Maywood)
Fax: (916) 319-2150
***Jose Solorio - Dem-69 - (Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Anaheim)
Fax: (916) 319-2169
Diane L. Harkey - Vice Chair - Rep-73 - (Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Oceanside, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano)
Fax: (916) 319-2173
Bob Blumenfield; Dem-40 (Canoga Park, Encino, Granada Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, Northridge, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Van Nuys, West Hills, Winnetka, Woodland Hills)
Fax: (916) 319-2140
Tim Donnelly - Rep-59 - (Glendora, Sierra Madre, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont)
Fax: (916) 319-2159
Jim Nielsen - Rep-2 - (Alturas, Anderson, Arbuckle, Biggs, Burney, Chico, Colusa, Corning, Cottonwood, Dorris, Dunsmuir, Durham, Etna, Fall River Mills, Fort Jones, Gerber, Gridley, Live Oak, McArthur, Montague, Mount Shasta, Orland, Red Bluff, Redding, Shasta Lake City, Tehama, Tulelake, Weed, Williams, Willows, Woodland, Yreka, Yuba City)
Chris Norby - Rep-72 - (Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Orange, Placentia, Yorba Linda)
Fax: (916) 319-2172
Donald P. Wagner - Rep-70 - (Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Tustin)
Fax: (916) 319-2170
If you live in any of their districts, please contact them immediately and tell them you want them to support AB 88.
If you would like to contact the FDA to protest any approval of GMO salmon, please click here to take action.
Or write or call:
Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20993-000
888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)—main FDA Phone