Foodies everywhere – rejoice! Finally, your favorite chefs are adding some heat to GMO labeling efforts. A host of celebrity chefs have taken to Capital Hill to urge members of Congress to support legislation that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. While it isn’t an effort to ban them – it’s a great start.
Tom Colicchio who co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in New York City, José Andrés, part of ThinkFoodGroup, and Sam Talbot, among other celebrity chefs have delivered a petition to support Americans in their right to know exactly what is in their food.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., an organic farmer who joined the chefs in their meetings with lawmakers, said:
“Americans need to know, on a very basic level, what they’re eating. It’s critically important; it shouldn’t be guesswork. It’s truly a question of basic transparency.”
Colicchio, founder of Craft and Colicchio & Sons restaurants and a judge on Bravo’s popular show, “Top Chef,” says the chefs’ involvement in the GMO issue cuts to the core of the culinary industry.
Chefs count on personal relationships with organic farmers to purchase choice cuts of meat and fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to make their meals stand out on discerning palates. Chefs need to be able to trust that the food they are getting is not genetically modified – with no GM corn, soybeans, canola, GMO growth hormones used to fatten up dairy cows, and other questionable ingredients. This can only happen with labeling. Chefs feel they have an obligation to the people they serve food to – to give them the best food which hasn’t been tinkered with.
Talbot, a former “Top Chef” contestant and author says:
“When you come into a restaurant, it’s a chef’s responsibility to make sure that we know what we are putting on your plate, [and] you’re not going to get sick from [it]. We’re in direct contact with consumers on a daily basis, and they’re saying, ‘Hey, what’s in our food? Is this local? Is it organic?’”
Oregon, Colorado, Washington state and California have all been the victim of Monsanto’s false campaigning, resulting in failed GMO labeling measures. Though there is a recount in Oregon at present, and biotech is fighting to reverse anti-GMO laws in Maui and Vermont.
There currently exists a bi-partisan effort to introduce a bill to the FDA that would mandate the labeling of all foods containing GMOs. This should stand for grocers and food manufacturers, as well as restaurants, since even those who try to avoid GMOs are subject to an onslaught of them when they dine out.
“Often times when these initiatives get on the ballot, there are millions and millions spent [to defeat them], and it’s done for the sole purpose of folks not wanting to be accountable.”
Chef Colicchio added:
“The food movement has been around for 15, 20 years, but it’s only recently that chefs and consumers … are starting to look at policies that affect what goes on a plate. . .We’re not asking for a skull and crossbones; we’re not asking for a label in front that says ‘danger’ … and we’re not asking to take GMOs off the market. We’re asking for clear and precise labeling … It confuses consumers, the lack of transparency.”
Who cares how many Michelin stars your restaurant has won after all, if it is serving up genetically modified toxicity.