Groups to collaborate on promotion of organic foods, bioengineering labeling

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Environmental Working Group and Organic Voices announced they will collaborate to highlight the benefits of organic food and advance the fight for labeling food that contains bioengineered ingredients.

“This new collaboration will carry out our shared goals and build on the strengths of both organizations,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm and board chair of Organic Voices. “By working together, we believe that E.W.G. and Organic Voices can educate and empower consumers about the benefits of organic food and G.E. labeling and bolster our advocacy efforts in Washington.”

The E.W.G. supports organic food and agriculture. The organization has advocated for policies that increase transparency in the food and farm system, including the creation of national organic standards.

Since 2011, Organic Voices has managed the Just Label It campaign, a national coalition spearheading the effort to persuade the federal Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of bioengineered foods. In addition, the organization has worked to educate consumers about the benefits of eating organic food.

“Organic has significant benefits to our environment,” said Scott Faber, vice-president for government affairs at the E.W.G. Mr. Faber also will serve as Organic Voices’ executive director. “We want to see this sector grow and also help consumers understand that only organic guarantees that food has been produced without synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or G.E. ingredients.”

Since Organic Voices launched the Just Label It campaign a year ago, more than 1.2 million Americans have signed its petition urging the F.D.A. to label food containing bioengineered ingredients, and more than 600 partner organizations have joined the campaign to push for labeling. A recent poll found 93% of Americans support labeling and that support for labeling cuts across all demographic lines.

“This is a pivotal time for G.E. labeling,” said Ken Cook, president of the E.W.G. and a board member of Organic Voices. “More than 20 states will debate G.E. labeling legislation this year, and many food industry leaders recognize that it is time for the United States to join 62 other nations that already require G.E. labeling on packaged foods.”
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