Consumers Don’t Want Biotech Food in their Food Pyramid

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Darcey Rakestraw, drakestraw(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 202-683-2467
or Anna Ghosh, aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 415-265-1568

Consumers Don’t Want Biotech Food in their Food Pyramid

Consumer group calls out USDA for putting biotech interests before consumer health

WASHINGTON - National consumer organization Food & Water Watch demonstrated
today outside a press conference by U.S. Department of Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announcing the new Dietary Guidelines for
Americans. Along with its coalition partners, Food & Water Watch
drew attention to the USDA's decision last week to allow the
unrestricted planting of genetically engineered alfalfa, as well as the
FDA's pending approval of the first GE animal to be approved for human
consumption - AquaBounty's AquaAdvantage salmon.

"Despite widespread consumer rejection of genetically engineered
food, our federal agencies seem more dedicated to the financial success
of the biotech industry than protecting the health and environment of
consumers or the livelihoods of small- and medium-sized farmers," said
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "They may
as well add a level to the food pyramid and tell us what our recommended
allowance of GMOs should be."

A 2009 Consumer Reports poll revealed that the majority of consumers
would not eat genetically modified food, while a Food & Water Watch
poll conducted with Lake Research Partners in September, 2010, showed
that 78 percent of Americans were against the approval of a GE salmon
for human consumption and 91 percent believed the FDA should not allow
transgenic pigs, chicken and cattle into the food supply until the
agency could perform its own safety studies.

"The biotech industry is pushing hard to genetically engineer every
facet of our food system even though the long term human health
consequences are unknown," said Hauter. "We've already witnessed the
spread of ‘superweeds' and contamination of non-GE crops from
genetically engineered plants, but these facts seem to get buried by the
millions of dollars spent by the biotech lobby to influence Congress
and government agencies like the FDA and USDA."

A November, 2010, analysis done by Food & Water Watch shows that
over the last decade, top food and agriculture biotechnology firms and
trade associations spent over half a billion dollars - $572 million - in
campaign contributions and lobbying Congress in support of
controversial projects like GE food.

"The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans are purportedly
evidence-based to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases,"
said Hauter. "If this is truly the case, the USDA and HHS need to take
into account the evidence that the public is concerned about the
potential health, environmental and economic threats of GE foods and
they should not infiltrate our food supply."

Additional resources:
Statement by Wenonah Hauter on USDA's deregulation of GE alfalfa: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/ge-alfalfa/

Biotech lobbying analysis: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/briefs/food-and-agriculture-biotechnolo...

Summary of Food & Water Watch/Lake Research survey on attitudes
toward GE fish:
http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/release-FWW-Omnibus.pdf

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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