UPDATE APRIL 9, 2012
Contrary to some internet buzz, the FDA has NOT deleted one million comments. According to FDA spokesperson Siobhan DeLancey , “Comments are always retained as part of the public record…”. In fact, FDA has told JLI that we’ve overwhelmed the twelve staff responsible for uploading public comments.
Then why all the confusion? The reason for public comment is so that the FDA can hear from the American public. That means they actually read the comments. One way they manage the process when they receive large quantities is by bundling similar comments or petitions. Bundling facilitates the process of reading the massive deluge of comments. For instance, DeLancey told JLI, “…comment 395 contains 37,254 identical comments”. So while there may appear to be only hundreds of comments on the FDA site, the reality is all of the names of people who contacted FDA in support of the petition calling for labeling of GMOs either are already uploaded and contained in the comments on the site, or will be by the time the FDA is done uploading them, which they expect to be in the next several weeks.
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While the Food and Drug Administration has seemingly reached the limit for unbelievable behavior, the company’s decisions continue to astound and appall consumers and health activists alike.
In the agency’s latest decision, undoubtedly amazing thousands of individuals yet again, the FDA virtually erased 1 million signatures and comments on the ‘Just Label It’ campaign calling for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
The ‘Just Label It” campaign has gotten more signatures than any campaign in history for the labeling of genetically modified foods. Since October of 2011, the campaign has received over 900,000 signatures, with 55 politicians joining in on the movement. So what’s the problem here?
Evidently, the FDA counts the amount of signatures not by how many people signed, but how many different individual letters are brought to it. To the FDA, even tens of thousands of signatures presented on a single petition are counted as – you guessed it – a single comment.
This is how, despite over a million supporters being gathered by the petition, the FDA concluded a count of only 394.
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