The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Two GMO labeling petitions on White House website

Two petitions asking the government to require labeling of genetically modified foods are on the same website that is home to a petition asking for release of the White House home-brewed beer recipe.

The Obama administration started the “We the People” section of the White House Website, which allows individual Americans to post petitions and others to sign them, in September 2011.

The site references a First Amendment provision that says Congress “shall make no law respecting the right of people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

“We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country," an administration official said at the time the site was launched. "We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”

More than 5,000 petitions were created the first week, and the White House had to change the threshold for a petition to be searchable within to 150 signatures within 30 days and 25,000 signatures within 30 days to generate a response.

The first GMO petition was created Sept. 23, 2011 and has garnered more than 16,000 signatures. The second was created April 12, 2012 and has garnered more than 33,000 signatures. There has been no sign of a White House response, although there is a "Helpful Hint" on the site that says "Creating a duplicate or similar petition will make it harder for you to get an official response. Instead, sign and help promote the one that has already been created."

Here is the language of the two petitions:

Require all Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.

Genetically modified foods are a recent technology and are already in many commercial foods Americans consume today. While they may have benefits, these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have not been studied rigorously enough in their potential human health impacts. Therefore, it should be the consumer's right to know whether the food they choose to purchase contains all or partly genetically modified organisms as ingredients.

Although certified Organic foods are labeled as such and contain no GMOs, the consumer does not know whether they are buying genetically modified foods when they can't or choose not to buy Organic.

Petition to require food companies to label their foods according to their contents in terms of containing genetically modified organisms.

Created: Sep 23, 2011
16,745 signatures

Support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

We have a right to know how the food we eat and feed our families is produced, but under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that ability when it comes to genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

More than forty countries, including Russia and China, already require labels on genetically engineered foods. And a recent poll found that nearly all Democrats (93%), Independents (90%), and Republicans (89%) support labeling of GMOs. At a time when partisan rancor dominates the public conversation, there are few topics that can muster such overwhelming support.

And although over 1 million people submitted comments in favor of labeling, the FDA has yet to act.

President Obama, please listen to the American public and speak out in favor of the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Created: Apr 12, 2012
33,305 signatures