As a consumer, when you walk into most retail stores, you will notice that nearly every product sold has some form of labeling or information on it. Maybe it says where it was made, or what it was designed for. Maybe the product claims how it will make your life better or easier. Maybe it’s labeled with hazard signs or a Surgeon General warning. When it comes to food, most people would agree that they like to know what they’re going to put into their body before they consume it. And for the most part, food products are already mandated by the federal government (FDA) to show its contents. From how much sugar and fat it contains per serving, to if it contains high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. So why would labeling products that contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) be any different? Why does the FDA refuse to label genetically modified food? Let’s first discuss what GMO means.
GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. Source
TOO BIG TO FAIL?
The GMO takeover started with Dan Quayle and the FDA/GMO under George Bush Senior’s Administration from 1989 to 1993. Quayle helped launch GMOs into existence through the FDA’s anti-consumer right-to-know policy, which stated that GMO foods would not have to be labeled or safety tested under the new policy. For example, there would be no safety testing required whatsoever to take some pesticides and genetically modify the seeds of fruits and vegetables inside of a chemical lab. So much that except for our uninformed society, almost no other creature will eat these plants.
Fast forward to 2012, President Obama recently appointed former Monsanto Vice President and lobbyist Michael R. Taylor, to the Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the FDA. This is the same man who was responsible for FDA Food Safety when GMOs were allowed to enter into the US food supply without undergoing any testing to determine their safety or health risks. Before that, Michael R. Taylor was also an assistant to the FDA commissioner. He later left a law firm in the 1980′s to help gain FDA approval of Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone (rGBH), which studies have shown to be linked to cancer. He then became deputy commissioner of the FDA in 1991.
In March of this year, with his newly appointed FDA Advisor Taylor, President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act. This was done over the insistence of more than 250,000 Americans who signed an urgent letter asking that he use his executive authority to veto H.R. 933 and send it back to Congress to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the bill. This was just another example of how begging federal employees to limit federal power is a waste of time. Resources would be better allocated to nullify unjust federal acts at the state level. People are realizing this, and that’s exactly what they’re starting to do…
STATES ARE PUSHING BACK!
According to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Monsanto has begun secretly lobbying its Congressional insiders to attach several different amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill. This would, in theory, attempt to preempt or prohibit states from requiring labels on genetically engineered (GE) foods. Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have admitted privately that they feel they’ve already “lost the battle” to stop GE food labeling at the state level. And they’re right! With recent events such as “March Against Monsanto” and other similar protest which have been held around the world, the resistance against GMOs has really be brought to light! The following are some of the countries and regions that are beginning to ban or have banned GMOs.
Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, France, Madeira, Switzerland, India and Thailand.
In the United States, only the California counties of Mendocino, Trinity and Marin have successfully banned GM crops. Voters in other California counties have tried to pass similar measures but have been unsuccessful so far. Even though Monsanto barely won by a very thin victory (51 percent to 49 percent) in a costly, hard fought California GMO labeling ballot initiative last November, biotech and Big Food now realize that Washington State voters will likely pass I-522, an upcoming ballot initiative to label GE foods, on November 5. Also on May 10, the Vermont House passed a labeling bill, 99-42, even against massive lobbying efforts by Monsanto and threats to sue the state.
Monsanto is already known by farmers for aggressive patent infringement lawsuits for unwanted genetic contamination in their crops. This is the results when Monsanto’s patented GMO pollen blows across farmer’s fences and contaminates their crops against their wishes. In an effort to enforce their legal patents on their genetically engineered genes, Monsanto regularly sends their seed police out in rural America to trespass on farmer’s fields and steal their plants to take them back to their labs for testing. And due to aggressive lawsuits and investigations, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.
Monsanto has every reason to believe that Congress would support a potential nullification of states’ rights to label GMO foods. Like I mentioned, states are already doing it. But even if they don’t support it, we’re doing it anyways!
Adam Henriksen [send him email] is the state chapter coordinator for the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center. Originally from Georgia, Adam has lived in Arizona for 15 years and has been with the Tenth Amendment Center since 2012.
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