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posted: 3/19/2014 5:01 AM

The time for labeling GMO food is now

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Illinois Public Interest Research Group recently launched a campaign outside Jewel-Osco headquarters in Itasca, calling on the grocery store chain to label its store-brand products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The movement has already generated the support of 40 local and national groups including Chicago and suburban schools, restaurants and grocery stores, and has generated over 1,000 petition signatures from Jewel-Osco customers.

There is nothing more basic than the food that we put into our bodies, or more profound than our right to know what's in that food. Unfortunately, large food companies and big agribusinesses announced plans this month to pre-empt local and statewide citizen movements that are calling for the labeling of genetically modified organisms in food.

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association is gearing up a federal lobbying push for voluntary labeling -- that is, labeling that manufacturers can choose to ignore -- that would supersede any state action, at a time when such efforts to win labeling are gaining momentum. The Illinois state legislature, as well as more than half of the state legislatures across the country, is considering legislation to require labeling of GMOs in food sold in their state.

Consumers have a right to know what is in their food. Jewel-Osco should heed this call and label its GMO foods similar to how Whole Foods announced last year that it will commit to labeling GMOs, and the Illinois delegation should reject these special interest attempts to deny Illinoisans their right to know.

Dev Gowda

Darien

Advocate, Illinois PIRG Education Fund

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