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Consumer Advocates Press Michelle Obama for Genetically Modified Labeling Support

Group brings signatures to White House asking First Lady to remind President of campaign promise

Common Dreams staff

photo: Organic Consumers Association

Consumer advocates calling on First Lady Michelle Obama to press her husband to keep his promise to have genetically modified food labeled brought their message to the White House on Thursday.

Their message came through 203,000 signatures from an Organic Consumers Association petition demanding that President Obama keep the promise he made in 2007 when the then-presidential candidate said: “We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”

The battle over labeling genetically modified food (GMOs) has surged this election season with California's Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, on the ballot.

"It's time for President Obama to honor his 2007 campaign promise to label GMOs," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director, the Organic Consumers Association, who delivered the signatures to the White House. "Recent studies reinforce what scientists and doctors have been saying for years: genetically modified organisms are not safe, and should not be hidden in 80% of our foods without our knowledge. The OCA calls on President Obama to join the 90% of Americans who have already said they want GMOs labeled, and to endorse Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act."

Zack Kaldveer, Assistant Media Director for the Yes on Proposition 37 Campaign, also sees the importance of the President's endorsement of the ballot measure.

“Prop 37 would give California consumers the right to know what we’re eating and decide for ourselves what is best for our families,” said Kaldveer. “We appreciate President Obama’s support for the labeling of genetically engineered foods, and we urge he endorse the nation’s one opportunity to make that a reality.”

Figures from Maplight, a nonpartisan guide to ballot measures, show that the group fighting to keep genetically modified food unlabeled has dramatically outspent the Yes on 37 campaign, with $34.5 million raised compared to $4.1 million raised, according to data up to Sept. 30.

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