The labeling of genetically modified foods is commonplace in developed countries around the world where they’re not banned altogether. Efforts here in the U.S. were spearheaded by the Just Label It campaign to petition the FDA to enforce, at a minimum, labeling rights for Americans who want to know when they’re eating GMOs. And there were lots of people who wanted to kn0w–the campaign gathered more signatures than any other petition to the FDA: 1 million. But due to an agency technicality, the signatures were essentially erased and reduced down to less than 400. Whether or not the agency will agree with Just Label It’s request is yet to be seen, but if the disregard of one million concerned Americans is any indicator, chances are the biotech industry will have won, again.
1 Million Anti-GMO Comments Only Count as 394, Says FDA by Jill Ettinger, OrganicAuthority.com
One of the most hotly debated discussions about our nation’s food supply—the issue of genetically modified organisms—has led to a record-breaking number of comments submitted to the FDA, according to the petition campaign titled “Just Label It” that spearheaded the signature gathering and comments. But, by the FDA’s math, those 1 million individuals only actually count as 394 separate comments.
The one million signatures collected by Just Label It—more than any other petition submitted to the FDA in its history—were secured by the campaign over the last several months in order to persuade the agency to consider labeling the controversial seeds that are banned or strictly regulated throughout the rest of the developed world. But, the FDA’s rules say that if tens of thousands of people sign a single petition or submit the same form letter, they are only counted as one collective comment. The Chicago Tribune reports that agency spokesperson, Siobhan DeLancey, said the rules are all the same for citizens petitions, “it’s impossible for me to compare the claim of 1 million comments to other dockets–especially without knowing how JLI [Just Label It] is defining a ‘comment’.”