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Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield’s and Just Label It, on why GMO labeling is not anti-science

| | December 19, 2014
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Stonyfield Farm’s co-founder and chairman Gary Hirshberg has shifted his attention from building one of the country’s most influential organic food companies to building awareness about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Hirshberg created Just Label It, a national campaign to label GE foods.

He’s encouraged more than 1.4 million consumers to petition the FDA for mandatory labeling, and joined forces with 600 partner organizations to demand the U.S. government label foods made with genetically modified ingredients.

I pulled together friends to start Just Label It because of a belief that we’ve got to get straightened out about chemicals in this country. GMO is herbicide use. Period. There’s no debate about that.

The fight for labeling transparency is not about stopping GMOs. To say you’re against genetic engineering is to say you’re against science. Real drought resistance, real yield improvements, could be a good thing. Unfortunately, 95 percent of the way the technology has been applied is to produce and use more chemicals.

Last year, the six leading biotech companies sold $2.47 billion worth of seed, and $4.16 billion worth of herbicides [what the chemical companies call “crop protection”]. And nobody knows that. They’ve told Congress, they’ve told us all that it’s about feeding the world. They’ve told everybody that people like me are Luddites and we don’t believe in science. And they’ve done a brilliant job with tens of millions of dollars of lobbying to seduce the public into thinking that this is feed-the-world, feed-the-future stuff when it’s a simple profit model to sell more chemicals.

Read full, original interviewStonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg Talks GMO Labeling

Related article:  Just label it: Risk expert says food companies' fears about GMO stigmatization unwarranted
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