Genetically Modified Food Labeling and Why It's Necessary (UPDATED)
The Need For GMO Labeling
The subject of Genetically Modified Foods comes up time and time again, especially around elections. In California there has been a proposition for food labeling that lost. There are hopes that one day most states will pass food labeling as law. Many lobbyist are trying to divert such requirements. Many people show discontent in not knowing what is in the food they buy. One organization that is helping people know is the Non-GMO Project. Their goal is to inform people about GMO products and to protect the Non-GMO food supply.
Many countries have banned GMOs. However, the U.S. Government has approved GMOs and have deemed them as safe. They use research backed by the same companies that produce GMOs in the first place. More Americans want the power of choice and are outraged that these corporations are getting help from the U.S. Government. These companies are allowed to continue to produce GMOs and market their products without labeling. Furthermore, it is important that organizations like the Non-GMO Project exist and more websites like Change.org have petitions to be signed in hopes of food labeling requirements.
GMO producers fear labeling for obvious reasons. When people stop buying GMOs, companies producing them lose money. The only way people can refuse these products is by knowing if they are GMOs through reliable labeling. In the U.S. GMOs are in 80% of conventional foods, according to the website NonGMOProject.org. That is a staggering amount making GMOs most of the supply of conventional foods out there.
Listed on NonGMOProject.org are a list of High-Risk Crops, which are:
- Sugar Beets
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash
Then there is a list for Monitored Crops on NonGMOProject.org as well. This means that the crops are suspected or known to have GMO contamination and possible cross-pollination. These crops are:
- Beta Vulgaris (Chard, Table Beets)
- Brassica Napa (Ruta Baga, Siberian Kale)
- Brassica Rapa (Bok Choy, Mizuna, Chinese Cabbage, Turnip, Rapini, Tatsoi)
- Cucurbita (Acorn Squash, Delicata Squash, Patty Pan)
Another important mutation of GMOs is that they are herbicide tolerant. Thus, the use of Roundup and other herbicides are increased in usage. This in turn has created "Super Weeds" and "Super Bugs" caused by a resistance to the herbicides due to their frequent use. This then requires producers to use even stronger chemicals like Agent Orange to kill them, as explained on the Non-GMO Project website.
Progressively, Vermont was a state that fairly recently in 2014, passed the nation's first GMO food labeling law. Vermont Right to Know GMOs website stated that, although Vermont has a Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Law, it is being threatened by a lawsuit filed by a major GMO producer. Grocery Manufacturers Association filed suit against Vermont for passing Act 120, the nation's first "no strings attached" GMO Labeling Law. Vermont Right to Know GMOs has set up the Food Fight Fund for Vermont in order to raise funds for the legal costs of this case.
The first oral arguments were presented in court on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. Vermont Motioned to Dismiss the case, which is to have it thrown out of court due to lack of merit. The Plaintiff, Grocery Manufacturers Association, requested the court to stop implementation of Vermont's GMO Labeling Law. A final ruling going either way could take a few months or longer, depending on various reasons such as, evidence or lack thereof. Vermont needs the nation to support them by donating to their Food Fight Fund. This will also set precedent for other States. To donate, go to: vtrighttoknowgmos.org. (UPDATE: The court did dismiss Grocery Manufacturers Association's request to stop Vermont's GMO Labeling Law.)
In the meantime, while there are no GMO Laws in the majority of the U.S. you can go to nongmoproject.org and get a list of Non-GMO Project Verified products. Using a resource such as this can help you and your family make the choice of what food you want to consume, which is very empowering.
UPDATE: Congress Passed the Dark Act
Unfortunately, on July 24th, 2015 there were 275 House members that voted to keep legislation called the Dark Act, which essentially takes away the right from states and municipalities from passing mandatory GMO labeling laws. This bill is backed mostly by Republicans that don't want mandatory GMO labeling laws because of special interests. Instead, they suggest that companies themselves label foods containing GMO ingredients instead of the government monitoring this. Due to unethical practices on the part of GMO companies, this poses a huge conflict of interest.
The Dark Act was also packaged as the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” in order for Congress to vote on it. However, were 275 House Members misled by that name? Or were they bribed by Monsanto backed corporations? Consumers will have no way of knowing which products contain GMOs and which don’t. It is unfathomable and unjustifiable, that in a democracy, Congress can deny consumer demands for non-GMO foods and mandatory labeling. It is our human right to decide what to eat and what not to. We cannot let this bill get through to the U.S. Senate. Please sign the petition on Change.org: