Action Alert on Genetic Engineering

Last year, Sonoma County had a measure on the ballot about Genetically Engineered Foods. Sonoma is a agriculturally community and this issue is very important to people on both sides of the issue. For your consideration, here is the latest action alert about Assemblymember Jared Huffman’s Food and Farm Protection Act.

ACTION ALERT ON GENETIC ENGINEERING – SUPPORT AB 541
Assemblymember Jared Huffman (6th AD) has introduced AB 541, The Food and
Farm Protection Act. The bill would establish California’s only state laws
related to genetic engineering (GE) in agriculture and protect California
farmers, consumers, and the food supply. AB 541 already has the support of
many agricultural, environmental, health, faith and business organizations.
Please register your support for this bill by mailing or faxing a letter to
the Assembly Agriculture Committee. A sample letter is below.

OVERVIEW OF AB 541
The State of California has no policies regulating GE crops, and the federal
government is failing in its oversight role. Given this regulatory void,
eight counties attempted to pass local restrictions on GE crops, four of
which now have county bans or moratoria on GE crop production in place. In
the 2005/06 legislative session, biotechnology and agribusiness interests
sponsored a bill that would have pre-empted local authority over GE, but
failed due to a groundswell of opposition from public interest
organizations, citizens, and elected officials around the state. AB 541 will
put in place a coherent policy that addresses the risk of GE contamination,
without banning any GE crop.

AB 541 protects California farmers and the food supply in four ways:

1. Establishes the right of farmers and landowners to compensation for
economic losses due to genetic contamination of their crops

2. Protects farmers from being sued by a GE manufacturer if their crop
is contaminated by that company s GE product.

3. Establishes a county-level GE crop notification process so that
farmers can trace contamination to the GE manufacturer

4. Protects the food supply by prohibiting the open-field cultivation of
genetically engineered food crops used to produce drugs and biologics such
as hormones and antibiotics.

For printable fact sheets, background info, and sample letter, got to:
www.iled.org/alerts.html.
To read a longer summary of the issue, please see the Position Paper posted
on the web site of the
Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance: http://www.gepolicyalliance.org
The full text of the bill can be found at
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html .

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Register your support for AB 541 by sending a letter to the Chair of the
Assembly Agriculture Committee, the Honorable Nicole Parra. There is a short
sample letter below. Remember that it’s best to send handwritten letters
using your own words. (Emails are largely ignored.)

*** We need letters sent by April 10th! ***

Letters can be sent by fax to: (916) 319  2184, or by regular mail to the
address in the letter below.
It’s important that you also send a copy of your letter to the Genetic
Engineering Policy Project (info@gepolicyproject.org or fax 707-874-1558).

_______________________
SHORT SAMPLE LETTER:
_______________________
[date]

The Honorable Nicole Parra
Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee
1020 N Street, Room 362
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: AB 541 (Huffman) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblywoman Parra and Members of the Committee:

Please vote for AB 541, The Food and Farm Protection Act.

[Give your reasons for supporting the bill. This can be brief, one or two
sentences is fine.]

Sincerely,

[your name and address]

[If you are connected to a health, agricultural, or food-related
organization, company, or farm, please describe it in the text of the
letter, and give your title and the name of your organization here].

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