OCA Organizes Successful FDA Hearing Protest In DC - Oakland Next

Carrying a 25-foot ear of corn with the sign "Safety First"
written on its side, OCA along with USPIRG, Friends of the
Earth, Center for Food Safety, and Community Harvest helped
organize a rally of over 150 people outside of an FDA
hearing on genetically engineered foods in Washington, DC.

The hearing was the second of three being held by the FDA,
designed to explain their regulatory system for genetically
engineered foods - and hear from citizens. The protests and
hearing received extensive news coverage including CNN, USA
Today, and New York Times - while sharing the spotlight with
massive protests in Seattle over the WTO.

The rally was highly successful despite an effort funded by
the Monsanto corporation in which around 100 people were
hired at $25 apiece to travel from a local Baptist church
and protest in favor of genetically engineered foods. In an
embarrassing story for Monsanto, the New York Times reported
on the paid protestors in a December 8 article - detailing
the work of giant public relations firm Burson Marsteller,
which has been working for Monsanto at the FDA hearings.

The last FDA hearing on genetically engineered food will be
held in Oakland, CA on December 13. The FDA is following a
similar pattern to the previous hearing. It has already
moved the site location, less than a week before the
hearing. The agency is still putting together the panels for
the hearing at the last minute. Additionally, the biotech
industry is expected to bus in hundreds of pro-biotech
supporters from Davis, California - home of Monsanto
subsidiary, Calgene, and Berkeley - where biotech giant
Novartis has a partnership with the University of

OCA and others will be holding a major rally at the hearing
site at 12 noon. If you are interested in attending, please
contact OCA California Organizer Simon Harris at:
415-643-9592, or by e-mail at:

The FDA will be accepting written comments from the public
through January 13. Those comments should demand that: 1)
the agency require rigorous pre-market safety testing that
proves genetically engineered foods are safe; and 2) that all
genetically engineered crops on the market have
thorough and prominent labeling. You can submit comments
through the FDA's website at:

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