Food

Maryland consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we buy, so we can make healthy, responsible, and informed choices about what we’re eating. Manufacturers are required by federal law to list ingredients and other nutrition information on food packaging, but whether or not a food is genetically modified is not included. More than 60 countries, including the entire European Union, already require GMO labeling, but in the U.S., consumers are still denied this basic information.  

Resource | Food

A Year of Progress:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and foods derived from GMO ingredients were introduced into U.S. markets comparatively recently, with the first such foods approved for commercial use twenty years ago.[i]  Yet the pace of adoption has been blistering.  As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified.[ii]

Because many of these crops are the source of ubiquitous food additives like high fructose corn syrup and soy and canola oils, the industry estimates that 70%-80% of the food Americans eat contains GMO ingredients.[iii]  However, this massive shift has mostly been invisible to consumers.  While 64 countries require the disclosure of GMO ingredients on food labels, the U.S. has yet to adopt mandatory GMO labeling.[iv]  Thus, while the USDA organic label does signify that a product is GMO-free, and there are voluntary GMO-free labeling efforts, American consumers are largely left in the dark.

News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Food

Baltimore Consumers Call on Safeway to Label GMOs, On Anniversary of Whole Foods Labeling Commitment

Baltimore, March 8 – Consumers and health advocates launched a campaign calling on Safeway to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.  

Issue | Food

Label GMO Foods

Protecting our right to know.

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. These subsidies are all the more egregious at a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic. Children are three times more likely to be obese than their counterparts three decades ago.

Issue | Health Care

Fighting The High Cost Rx Drugs

Brand-name drug companies have been paying off generic drug makers to delay competition and keep prices high. This widespread pay-for-delay scheme needs to be put to an end. 

POULTRY INDUSTRY AND USDA WANTS TO PUT DANGEROUS CHICKEN ON YOUR PLATES.

By | Jenny Levin
Public Health Advocate

The new USDA proposed poultry inspection rule is being hailed as a commonsense, cost-saving rule by OIRA and of course the poultry industry.  It will purportedly streamline antiquated poultry inspection requirements, allowing companies to choose a more flexible approach with five-year savings apparently in excess of $1 billion. But in reality the proposed rule might actually put more dangerous chicken on your plate. 

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget, Food, Tax

Apples to Twinkies 2012:

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients. In this report, we find that in 2011, over $1.28 billion in taxpayer subsidies went to junk food ingredients, bringing the total to a staggering $18.2 billion since 1995. 

MAD ABOUT THE FARM BILL

By | Jenny Levin
Public Health Advocate

Earlier this month, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill with a 35-11 vote.  It was greatly anticipated, as the country needs a fair and common sense bill that cut wasteful spending. In years past, the Farm Bill has given out tens of billions in taxpayer dollars to large, mature agribusinesses, and subsidized commodity crops that are often processed into the junk food ingredients fueling the obesity epidemic.  Between 1995 and 2010 we gave out $260 billion in agricultural subsidies to the country’s largest farming operations. With the expiration of the present Farm Bill coming in September, Congress has an opportunity to end this wasteful corporate welfare.

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