09/13/2013 02:47 pm ET Updated Nov 13, 2013

Your Right to Know - GE Labeling Hearing In Chicago 9/17

Over the summer hearings have taken place in Illinois, where defenders of our right to know have taken the stage against GMO labeling opponents. The outcome of these hearings will determine whether Genetically Engineered foods are labeled in Illinois. The final hearing is taking place this Tuesday, Sept 17 at 10:30 am in Chicago at 160 N. LaSalle, Room C.

What are GE foods? Why should you care? If you have time, come to these hearings to find out. They will be held in the Loop, so take lunch early, take a coffee break and get to these hearings to show support for the issue. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times:

93 percent of the respondents said that foods containing such ingredients should be identified. Three-quarters of Americans expressed concern about genetically modified organisms in their food, with most of them worried about the effects on people's health. Thirty-seven percent of those worried about G.M.O.'s said they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies, although scientific studies continue to show that there is no added risk. Among those with concerns, 26 percent said these foods are not safe to eat, or are toxic, while 13 percent were worried about environmental problems that they fear might be caused by genetic engineering.

64 other countries already require GE labeling. What do these countries know, that we don't? Why are GE Labeling opponents so adamant about not labeling food items? What is wrong with full disclosure on food labels?

These hearings were set up to bring both sides together to discuss the issue. If you can make it, get to the hearings. Let your legislators know that you care about the issue.

A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature, and is experimental. The correct scientific term is "transgenics," and is also often referred to as (GE) genetically engineered.

Example: Genetically Modified corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. GMO Corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Insecticide, but is sold unlabeled.(

These hearings are not set to determine if GE foods are good or bad for you. The hearings are about food transparency. What is wrong with that? f you can't make it to the hearings, Food and Water Watch Illinois has been a leader in the campaign to label GE foods in Illinois and is a great resource to learn about the GE labeling issue. I will post updates on The Local Beet as well. We all have a "right to know."