By Zen Honeycutt, Children’s Health Defense Contributing Writer, Executive Director, Moms Across America

 

Dear Food Producers,

During the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and unequal access to healthy food, we need more integrity and safety in our food supply, not less. Whenever there are job losses and lack of insurance many families are less likely to call an ambulance or get hospital care during a food allergy reaction, increasing the risk of death.

The recent decision by the USDA to not regulate GMOs, CRISPR, gene editing, or Pharmaceutical and Industrial Chemical Producing (PMPIs) plants are of dire concern to us.

In addition, the FDA’s announcement to allow food companies to switch out food ingredients, even temporarily during the COVID-19 situation, such as sunflower and canola oil, can have immediate, life-threatening, allergenic health effects. Allowing unlabeled ingredients, no matter what they are, destroys the long-term integrity of our food supply, both nationally and internationally.

Our government has failed to regulate the food supply and protect the health of the American people and people around the world. If actions are not taken by food producers, our health, the integrity of our food supply, and international trade relations, will be threatened. We ask for your partnership in rectifying this situation.

This is the time for food producers to do better than the FDA, not only because people will find out who did the right thing, but because it is the right thing to do.

We ask for food producers to make a public statement and respond to Moms Across America by June 19 regarding the following requests and your company’s commitments:

  • Maintain the accuracy of food labels during the shutdown. Do not allow substitutions of food ingredients without updating labels.
    • Health implications from GMOs, CRISPR, gene editing, and PMPIs are either known to be harmful or in some cases, untested and uncontrollable.  The human health effects, especially epigenetic effects, are simply unknown and must be considered unsafe, especially for children, until proven otherwise. Including ingredients from these technologies is therefore unwanted and unnecessary in order to provide nourishing food for our families and support a healthy, thriving America. In America, we spend 2.2 trillion on health care costs. Costs are rising around the world. We ask you not to grow or include GMOs and ingredients utilizing these technologies in your food products.
    • If you, as a grower or food manufacturer, choose to use these ingredients we ask you to have integrity and clearly label all ingredients on the package. Without clarification if a food product contains GMOs (including SynBio) or if it is Certified Organic or Non-GMO Project Verifiedwe consumers must assume that the product may contain GMOs and we will avoid purchasing your product. In order to prevent an unnecessary reduction of options for the consumer and a drop in sales for brands, clarity is required. We ask all food producers and manufacturers to clearly label all of your ingredients and specify if they are GMO or not.
    • We are facing several crises around the world. Our agriculture system can contribute to reducing the food and climate crisis by switching to regenerative organic agriculture which reduces toxic pollution and increases the sequestration of carbon, supporting a reversal of climate change. In doing so, producers will also support a continued ability to grow food, increase access to food, and address our health crisis as well. We ask that food producers consider making the changes as listed in the Moms Across America Gold Standard which includes supporting regenerative agriculture and creating food that is not only good for our families but good for the planet as well.

  • Citizens across the country and around the world are facing or will likely soon face increasing food shortages. We ask food manufacturers to request that their suppliers and commodity growers switch at least 1% of crop acreage to regenerative organically grown mixed vegetables. In doing so, these 2 million US acres will increase access to healthy local food by 50%. This simple decision, as inspired by farmer Keith Berns, could save millions of lives across America and, if repeated globally, around the world.
  • Food manufacturers, we ask you to donate 1% of your sales to support organizations that support local food security; school, church and community gardens, and local involvement such as Moms Co-ops. With your support, local commu-nities could connect and get involved in regaining their health – connect with local farmers, reduce health care costs, improve immune systems, prevent further pandemics and economic crises.

The US Government’s decision not to regulate GMOs or require transparent labeling impacts more than just US customers. Nearly half of all America’s major crop commodities are exported. International trading partners would be justified in being wary to purchase food from a country that does nothing to discern if their exports are safe, uncontaminated from GMOs, or gene editing. A sudden drop in international purchases could greatly harm the US economy and international food supply.

We ask food producers and food manufacturers to make a public statement in response to this administration’s refusal to listen to the 6,125 commenters, including industry, who opposed the deregulation of GMOs and instead agreed with the 25 commenters who supported some of the rulings. With a public statement of your commitment, you can help reassure consumers nationally and globally that American food products are safe.

When a system is unjust, we must take action to restore justice and trust. When you make a commitment please send Moms Across America a link to your statement so we may share the good news with our networks and partnering organizations. Email:[email protected]

American food producers and manufacturers can be international leaders and restore trust in the food supply. You can be a part of protecting and restoring our health and economy, nationally and globally, for generations to come.

Thank you.

From Moms Across America, Consumer, Farmer, Environmental and Health Advocates

Moms Across America, Zen Honeycutt, Executive Director
Epidemic Answers, Beth Lambert, Executive Director
Farmworker Association of Florida, Jeannie Economos, Health and Safety Project Coordinator
Art Dunham, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, educator
Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, Public Benefit Corporation – John Steven Bianucci, Director of Conservation
National Health Federation, Scott Tips, President
Organic Consumers Association, Alexis Baden-Mayer
Californians for Pesticide Reform, Sarah Aird and Jane Sellen
National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation, Angel De Fazio, BSAT, President/Executive Director
Clean Power Lake County, Dulce Ortiz, Co-Chair
Dr. Yolanda Whyte Pediatrics, Yolanda Whyte, MD, President

 

UPDATE:
Zego, a food company dedicated to providing allergy free products, is calling for food producers and consumers to also comment directly to the FDA, “It is the responsibility of everyone who needs or wants transparency in our food supply to write to the FDA and register their public comment on this new guidance.”