A small protest outside U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s Chicago office asked for him to vote against a bill which would prevent states from making the labeling of genetically modified foods mandatory. No one from Durbin’s office came out to say anything to the protesters, who were bashing federal legislation which aims to strengthen standards for labeling foods as GMO-fee, rather than requiring any food containing GMOs to be labeled. Food and Water Watch organizer Jessica Fujan says the motives of pro-labeling protesters have been misunderstood.
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“We are not here to ban GMOs,” Fujan said. “We are not to overturn the hundreds of patents that are possessed by the biotech industry. We simply want a label. We’re interested to know what’s in our food.” Fujan questioned the legitimacy of testing of genetically modified foods being done by the same companies who make the food, but organizations like the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences found no evidence GMOs are harmful. While Durbin didn’t come out and speak to the small gathering, he has been against GMO labeling in the past. “I don't believe you go around labeling food, inferring there's something wrong with the product unless there's evidence of it," he said during a campaign event in Bloomington in 2014. A statement from his office says he’s still examining the current legislation.