Just Label It (JLI), Washington, the national coalition of 525 diverse organizations working for genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling, praised the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative for its record-breaking success in being the first state group to gather enough signatures (971,126) to put the labeling of genetically engineered foods on its statewide ballot this fall.

In March, Just Label It celebrated the generation of more than 1 million public comments in support of a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most comments on a food petition in FDA history.

“Just like people in more than 40 countries around the world, including Japan, China and all of Europe, Californians have a right to know about the food they eat and feed their families, and so does everyone in every state across America,” says Gary Hirshberg, chairman of yogurt maker Stonyfield Organic, and a partner in the Just Label it campaign. “With so much momentum driving the consumer right to know movement, Washington will be hard-pressed not to respond to the will of the people,” he says. “There is no turning back consumer demand for the right to know.”

Last October, JLI partner, the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. It took 180 days to generate a record-breaking 1,149,967 public comments.

By March 27, 2012, the "due date," when the FDA was required to respond to the petition, the FDA concluded, "We have not been able to reach a decision on your petition…We hope to be able to complete the review of your petition and respond to your request in the near future." Now, more than a month after the comment period closed, the FDA still has not finished tallying the more than one million comments from people all across America.

Since then, JLI petitioned President Barack Obama to take a stand on labeling of GMOs, exceeding in less than five days the 25,000 signatures threshold needed to garner a response from the White House. JLI is said to be gathering more signatures on its website to keep the pressure on the FDA to mandate labeling.

JLI is dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, also referred to as GMOs. The Just Label It message is simple: Consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website at (www.justlabelit.org)