Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WE. DID. IT. !!!!!

 6/26/2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I haven’t written because I wanted it to be completely official – and today that happened.  Governor Malloy signed the first GMO labeling bill in the country! 

3 weeks ago, on June third, a much worked over bill passed through the Senate (unanimously) and then the House, (134-3) and we were informed that the Governor would sign it.  Since then there have been two press conferences announcing passage of the bill: one with the Governor and one with US Senator Richard Blumenthal.

As it stands, the law will not be effective until 4 other states pass a similar law, one state must be bordering CT, and there must be an aggregate population of 20 million in the Northeast, which includes New England,  NY, PA, and NJ. Because we have been working closely with other states, we know this will happen; most likely within the next 12-18 months.

Even more important however, is that our country is so much more informed than it was even last year!   We have come so far in taking back our food!

Thank you very much for reading these emails, signing petitions, making phone calls, sharing information with others, and especially your kind words of encouragement and support!  In early June, Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey received 44,000 calls over a 2-3 day period.  They had to listen to their constituents, and they did!  Every one of you had something to do with this victory.  THANK YOU!!!

With love and gratitude,

Beth  



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What went on, behind the scenes:

We have been sitting on pins and needles for over a week now.  Our GMO labeling bills HB 6527 and HB 6519 were sitting under Speaker Sharkey's back pockets, going nowhere, despite our concessions and despite unprecedented support from Democrats and Republicans alike! Speaker Sharkey would not call the bill for a vote in the House. SO, our latest heros, President of the Senate Don Williams and  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney decided to create their own bill - SB 802.  It was announced at our rally, at the State Capitol, in front of close to 500 people who were there to support GMO labeling.

That same day, we watched the Senate debate the bill for over 2 hours, take a break ("PT" it,) and then  around 10:30 pm, VOTE IN FAVOR OF AN EFFECTIVE, FAIR, AND PROMISING BILL.....35-1! (The answer to your question is Senator Kane from Waterbury.)

A few nights later, around 11 pm, while on the phone with colleagues, and simultaneously watching CT-N, an original house bill (HB 6527 - nicknamed the baby bill,) was called for a vote.  We were shocked at how it was amended - knowing full well it was filled with loopholes that would make it very difficult to ever see a  "genetically engineered" label on a package.

While on a conference call with members of the GMO FREE CT Team, we were simultaneously on other lines with our legislators begging them not to vote yes for the bill.  Most of those Representatives had been working for three nights in a row.  They were tired, many didn't even have an explanation of the amendments, and were told by the Speaker that they couldn't go home until they voted on the bill.  What representative would want to be on the record for voting against a GMO labeling bill?!?  And so, they passed it.  But it's not over yet.  It has to go back to the Senate for a vote - or maybe it won't, maybe it will just die, as it should. There is a better bill that can come from the Senate and get passed by the House!

We have a week left, we have some very angry Senators and Representatives, who have had time to digest what happened and what that sham of a bill really meant,  and we have the passion of the people who want nothing but the truth on our food labels and from our leaders who we voted for and put our trust in.

This is critical; it's not over yet!  We have a week to get our right to know what's in our food. Please Please Please call or write to Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey and ask them to take care of the people of Connecticut, and not their special interests.  We can do this - together! Please see the letter below for more information.  Prayers will help too!  God has to be tired of "moving over" for the evil biotech industry.
GMO Free CT Logo



Hello to all our fellow GMO labeling warriors. 

Last week was certainly filled with its share of highs and lows.  To go from an almost unanimous vote in the Senate on a very strong GMO labeling bill, to the vote in the House on a toothless bill, was not easy for anyone.   We want to take this moment to fill you once again with hope and determination. We will not be defeated.  We will not stop fighting until we have a right to know what is in our food.

Today we are asking that you help us send a strong message to Governor Malloy and Speaker of the House, Brendan Sharkey, that they did not silence us by passing a deeply flawed bill with a trigger clause that is meant as a roadblock.  We have spent two years trying to reach a compromise with Governor Malloy and negotiated with his office in good faith.   He has now shown us his true colors.  Last Thursday, before any of the members of the House had a chance to read the Amendments to the GMO labeling bill provided by Governor Malloy’s office, Speaker Sharkey called the bill for a vote in the middle of the night when they thought no one was watching, and it passed.  But, we were watching!

Malloy and Sharkey thought we would go away after the passage of any GMO labeling bill.  They underestimated us, we will not go away until we have the right GMO labeling bill.  We are calling upon you today to let your voice be heard louder than ever before.  There is still hope, there are seven days left of the legislative session.  We will fight to the end.

Please call, write, tweet, and facebook Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey.  Please be respectful and polite in your communications, but do not be afraid to be firm. 

Governor Malloy
Call Governor Malloy today at (860) 566-4840 and state the following:
“Your amendments to the GMO labeling bill are unacceptable.  We ask that you please act to protect the interests of the citizens of CT, who elected you to office, rather than the outside influence of corporations who want to keep us in the dark about what we are eating.  We hope that when a legitimate GMO labeling bill lands on your desk, you will do the right thing and sign it into law.”

To e-mail Governor Malloy CLICK HERE.

Please write on Governor Malloy’s facebook page by clicking HERE.

Click to tweet Governor Malloy:
@GovMalloyOffice The amendments to the GMO Labeling bill are unacceptable. Give #CT citizens a transparent #RighttoKnow #LabelGMOs

@GovMalloyOffice The GMO labeling bill the House passed is toothless. Give #CT citizens transparency in labels, not roadblocks. #LabelGMOs


Speaker of the House, Brendan Sharkey
Call Speaker Sharkey today at 860-240-8500 and state the following: “The amendments to the GMO labeling bill provided to you by Governor Malloy are unacceptable.   You are not listening to your constituents.  The citizens of Connecticut want GMO labeling that will give us transparency, choice, and our right to know.”

Please e-mail Brendan Sharkey at Brendan.sharkey@cga.ct.gov.

Please write on Brendan Sharkey’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Sharkey.Brendan?ref=ts&fref=ts

Click to Tweet Brendan Sharkey:
@SharkBits88 There's no bite to the GMO labeling bill you passed. #LabelGMOs #RighttoKnowGMO

@SharkBits88 The amendments to the GMO Labeling bill are unacceptable. Give #CT citizens a transparent #RighttoKnow #LabelGMOs

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Testifying in favor of HB 6519 - An act to label Genetically Engineered Foods.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Testimony supporting HB 6519, An act to label genetically engineered foods

GMO Free CT leaders waited in the LOB for 13 hours to present testimony in support of HB 6519.  We had incredible scientists, who voluntarily came on their own time to speak on behalf of the bill. They included John Fagan from Earth Open Source, and Michael Hanson from Consumer's Union. John is a former biotech scientist who "saw the light " and wrote the book "GMO Myths and Truths."  Michael Hanson  gave amazing testimony, dispelling all the claims made by the very well paid biotech lobbiests. (What an honor and privledge to meet and talk with each of them!) An exciting part of the day was when "Gerry" from Ben and Gerry's Ice Cream testified that his ice cream would be completely GMO Free by the end of this year, and the cost would not increase!  Over 200 people got to have free ice cream provided by Gerry, which he scooped himself. Incredible!  A father and mother, holding their two babies, testified with tears in their eyes that they want to know what is in the food that they feed their family.  They described how difficult it is for them (and many families) to afford organic food in order to avoid GMOs and wish food could be truthfully labeled.

Testimony for HB 6519 – Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC    3/15/2013

Good Afternoon Senator Gerratana, Representative Johnson, Vice chairs, Ranking members, and members of the committee: I’m here in support of HB 6519.

My name is Beth Beisel, and I’m a registered dietitian.  That means that I received a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences, interned in a hospital, and passed a national registration examination. I also have to take continuing education credits to maintain my registration.

I have had a nutrition consulting practice for over 20 years.  I’m here today to tell you how critical it is that consumers have access to transparent labels.  Since food allergies have become more common, it is important that people who are told to avoid genetically engineered foods can. Right now the task is a very difficult one, and often discouraging. There are approximately 100 ingredients in processed foods that come from corn or soy, 2 of the most prevalent genetically engineered foods.  It is time consuming and confusing for people to read food labels and search for the 100 or so particular ingredients in each product.  Some people are lucky; they can just buy organic or non gmo project verified, to avoid GMOs, but not everyone can do this because it is more expensive to buy organic.

Some of the ingredients that may come from GMOs include: Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, citric acid, maltodextrine, textured vegetable protein, and soy isolates.  It will be easier and safer for people with food allergies or any malady that might be related to ingestion of genetically engineered products, if it just simply states it on the label.

I believe that the sudden infusion of these ingredients into our food supply and the increasing rates of conditions we are currently seeing, including autoimmune disease,  inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, and celiac disease, which I never even learned about in school, in the 1980s, could be related. I realize correlation is not causation, but correlation should be investigated.  And it is impossible to investigate without the liability, accountability, and trace-ability that labeling will afford the citizens of CT.

It’s not just people with food allergies.  We are all ingesting these ingredients every day.  Babies get them in formula and teething crackers. Children get them in birthday cake with frosting, soda, Halloween candy and school lunches.  Adults get them when they eat a salad covered in dressing made with vegetable or canola oil. And the elderly get them when they are prescribed nutritional supplements which are primarily corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets. 

This is not a partisan issue; it is a human issue, and it affects every single one of us, including you and me, on a daily basis.

Please support this bill, and thank you for your time.

Testimony in support of the GMO Labeling Bill for GMO Baby Food and Formula

This testimony was presented on March 5, 2013 to the "kids committee" of the CT Legislature.  The bill HB 6527, An act to label genetically engineered baby food, passed out of committee 11-1! 


Testimony for the baby food labeling bill, HB 6527

Thank you, Representative Urban, for introducing this bill.

My name is Beth Beisel.   I am a registered dietitian, and the mother of 3 children.  I graduated from Villanova University and St. Joseph’s College. I am not a hippy, or a bored housewife.  Over the last year, I have significantly decreased my income- producing consulting business to help educate people about the health risks of GMOs for a grassroots campaign called GMO FREE CT. As a health care professional, I have seen the effects of what our changing food supply has done to my clients. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, auto immune disorders – diseases I never learned about in school have reached epidemic proportions. I have friends and relatives who worry, daily, about the mortality of their children with fatal food allergies; these children can’t even sit with their friends at lunch, but instead must be segregated to a peanut free table, or a table for children with food allergies.  This was unheard of 15 years ago.

Labels today list peanuts, sodium content, high fructose corn syrup, gluten and trans fat – but NOT genetically modified organisms, WHY?   What is even more outrageous, is that even infant formula has GMOs and is unlabeled.  PARENTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT THEY FEED THEIR BABIES!

If a woman can’t or won’t nurse her baby, the alternative is formula.  Formula is a chemically developed substance made primarily from derivatives of corn and soy. This means that the first food many infants ingest comes from a plant that has its own pesticide number…yes, that’s right. Every kernel of genetically engineered corn is made to express a deadly toxin, which causes a rootworm’s stomach to explode. Each type of genetically engineered corn has a pesticide number and is registered with the EPA. This is similar to the number on any chemical pesticide that you would find on the shelf at a hardware store. And it is in Baby Formula.  THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE NUTRITION (as it was previously described by the biotech lobbiest) TO ME.

Infants do not have a fully developed immune system, nor is their blood brain barrier established.  In Canada, BT toxin – used in GE corn, was found in the blood of pregnant women and in their unborn babies. The study was published last year in the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Bacteria resistant to Round up, is also used in the genetic engineering of soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets. This hardwires them to withstand unprecedented saturation with chemicals like Roundup – which contains glyphosate and is geno- toxic.  I am happy to provide peer reviewed medical literature which demonstrates that animals exposed to these foods develop smaller livers and brains, as well as infertility and cancerous tumors.  The biotechnology industry claims that these foods are safe – but they have never been tested on humans. Your children – and mine – and you and I are the guinea pigs.

Because I DIDN’T KNOW, my babies ingested some of these chemicals and genetically modified foods, and I will have to live with that guilt and concern for the rest of my life.

We can’t depend on the FDA to protect our children’s health or tell us the truth.  It is up to you, the CT General Assembly, to inform and protect the people who put you here.  Over the last year, I have met many caring legislators with humility, who really do care about the people and their rights. I hope you will support this bill by affirming it, and encouraging House and Senate Leaders and the Governor’s office to support it.

A coalition of 39 states and Canada is watching CT. We can continue to be leaders and heroes or we can give in to corporate threats and interests. I believe CT will do the right thing, and let parents make informed decisions for themselves.

Thank you for opportunity to address this issue and for doing what is right for your constituents.





Monday, March 4, 2013

GMOs - Red Light items to throw away or take back to the store!

So, now that you know, what’s the first thing you should do:

To help you get started avoiding GMOs, go home and throw away the following *red light* GMO items:

*Pancake syrup (high fructose corn syrup in a bottle)
*Canned frosting
*Margarine
*Crisco
*Vegetable Oil
*Canola oil
*Salad dressing
*Soda
*”Sugar”
Processed sweets – cookies, cakes, candy
Cereals
Typical Peanut butter
Anything made from corn
Anything made from soy


Then, go to the store and replace with:

Real Maple Syrup
Organic Confectionary sugar and organic butter to make your own frosting
Pure Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, safflower/sunflower/peanut/sesame/oil
Homemade salad dressing (eg: olive oil, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup)
Seltzer water mixed with juice
Homemade sweets or organic
100% cane sugar, organic sugar, sugar in the raw
Organic cereal
100% Peanut Butter – peanut oil settles on top, stir it in.

Look for “Non GMO Project Verified” or Organic products.

Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC
Consulting Nutritionist
GMO FREE CT
bethbeisel.blogspot.com (Links and

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Speech at press conference by NOFA's Executive Director, Bill Duesing

Here is the speech given by Bill Duesing, Executive Director of the Northern Organic Farmers Association. This brilliant speech reflects the views of so many of those involved in the GMO labeling effort. Thank you Bill!


Good Morning

Thank you for being here today.  Thanks to Representatives Phil Miller and Diana Urban for introducing GMO labeling legislation and to Richard Roy for championing this legislation last year.

It is great to be here representing the 800 members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, CT NOFA, and to be here as part of the GMO Free Connecticut Coalition.   It is really moms who care about what they feed their kids, especially moms who have studied nutrition and health, who are the heart of the GMO Free Connecticut Coalition.

CT NOFA members are farmers, gardeners, chefs, land care professionals, consumers, scientists, educators and moms.

GMOs are prohibited from use in organic farming and land care.  So it would be easy to say just “buy organic.”  We certainly encourage that, but we believe that the current crop of GMOs is so dangerous to the health of people and the health of the environment, that it is important for them to be labeled.

On average, we each eat our body weight in GMOs each year in a very large, uncontrolled experiment with human and environmental health.

The vast majority of GMO crops are designed as sales tools for specific herbicides; the majority of those sales tools for Roundup.  Roundup kills most all green plants that haven’t been engineered to resist it, so right off the bat we have a problem, since we depend on green plants for food, air and water.

Although the propaganda from the biotech industry claimed that GMOs would reduce pesticide use, a recent study found that herbicide use increased by over half a billion pounds in the 15 years between the introduction of GMOs in 1996 and 2011.

As a result, these herbicides and their breakdown products have increased presence in our food, our environment and our bodies.

This is not surprising.

The thing about Roundup is that it works by grabbing on to nutritional elements and holds on tight.  Plants die because they can’t get the trace elements they need.  There is evidence that because of this feature, genetically engineered plants are less nutritious and may even contain dangerous substances.

So GMO food has more pesticides and fewer nutrients.

But it is not just the herbicides and their residues.

Much GMO corn also is registered as a pesticide because it contains a pesticide in every cell.

A publication from the University of Minnesota lists possible problems as
Allergens
Increased toxicity
Decreased nutritional value
And antibiotic resistance.

Recent published papers report a hidden viral gene has been found is several GMO lines.  Neither industry nor regulators had seen it before.

The writers disclosing this finding close with “The discovery will also strengthen the argument for GMO labeling: if regulators and industry cannot protect the public then why should they not be allowed to protect themselves.

There is a growing and vibrant local and organic food system in Connecticut- small farms, organic farms, urban farms, community farms and gardens, agriculture commissions, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture farms and more.  The great work of all these people is undermined by an industrial food system that hides the truth about the GMOs in our food system.

I encourage the Connecticut General Assembly to enter history by passing legislation to require labels on foods that contain GMOs.

Thank you.

Bill Duesing
Executive Director
CT NOFA