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Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

Author: Deirdre Cummings

Legislative Director

(617) 747-4319

Started on staff: 1986
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to protect consumers from identity theft in the wake of massive security breaches at Equifax and Marriot, eliminate unfair pricing practices in disability insurance products, improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.

Here they go again.  An industry group – MA Farm to Food – releases a “study” by Cornell University Professor William Lesser, Costs of Labeling Genetically Modified Food Products in N.Y. State, to bolster its claims that a New York Assembly GMO labeling bill, A3525, would significantly increase the cost of food. As a veteran advocate on public interest issues, I know I’m in for a good one when any “new study or report” is paid for by the very industry which makes substantial profits off the subject of the study. In this case it is the sale and use of genetically engineered food and seed referred to as GMOs, genetically modified organisms.

Last week, Michael Hanson, Ph.D posted this on the website of Consumers Union:

The Lesser study was funded by the Council of Biotechnology Information and is their intellectual property. The Council consists of major biotechnology companies Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, and Dow.  The biotech companies make billions by selling the GMO seed and chemicals to farmers and are in opposition to New York’s GMO labeling law and have actively opposed labeling bills across the country.

Consumers Union found that this industry-funded study is based on faulty assumptions and that A3525 will not lead to any appreciable increase in the price of food bought by consumers.

For more detail on why the Lesser report is suspect and exaggerated –check out the full rebuttal from Consumers Union’s Senior Staff Scientist Michael Hanson, Ph.D.

MASSPIRG and broad coalition of organizations are working to pass a GMO labeling bill here in Massachusetts, H. 3996. The bill requires food made with GMOs to be labelled – giving the consumer the information they need to make choices about what they want to purchase. No warning, no crossbones, just a simple 8 word statement on a package if it contains genetically modified ingredients.

Seriously, who can oppose that?

 

Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

Author: Deirdre Cummings

Legislative Director

(617) 747-4319

Started on staff: 1986
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to protect consumers from identity theft in the wake of massive security breaches at Equifax and Marriot, eliminate unfair pricing practices in disability insurance products, improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.