GMO Labeling: Some facts
I’ve stated my personal opinion about GMO labeling before. So, in the interest of full disclosure: I don’t like them. In my opinion, we are messing around with nature where we shouldn’t be. Crop scientists are creating a desired trait in a specific crop, but ignoring the UNdesired traits that may happen as a result.
BUT….you may not feel the same way. You may think, “what’s the big deal?” You are probably seeing commercials about how a label requirement would hose your local farmer, regardless of what they grow. You’re probably also seeing commercials where someone is telling you there is no scientific difference between GMO’s and non-GMO’s, and therefore why bother labeling them?
I’m passionate about this topic, in case you hadn’t noticed. I did my homework, from multiple perspectives. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Facts about GMO labeling:
1) At present, these are the ONLY GMO crops approved for growing, harvesting, and using in food in the United States:
- Sugar Beets
- Cotton (for cottonseed oil)
- Rapeseed (canola)
- Yellow crook-neck squash
The biggest: Corn, Soy, Cotton, and Rapeseed. It’s estimated that approximately 96% of soy grown in this country is genetically modified.
Corn is a subsidized crop in the U.S., so it is ubiquitous. Everywhere and in everything.
- FACT: There is, at present, NO genetically modified wheat in the U.S. food supply. So, when you see the commercial where a fourth generation wheat farmer talks about how labeling is going to put them out of business, as of this moment they are wrong. GMO wheat, though experimented with, has not passed field testing.
In this same commercial, a hunk of cheese flashes by you, with the full intention of making you think, “cheese? What else?”
- FACT: A piece of cheese will NOT have to have a label on it. Allow me to quote the exact language in the initiative:
“Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to any of the following:
(a) Food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether the animal has been fed or injected with any food produced Code Rev/AI:crs 7 I-2570.1/12 with genetic engineering or any drug that has been produced through means of genetic engineering.”
So when a cow is fed GMO corn and their milk becomes cheese, no label.
- FACT: Nacho Cheese Doritos WILL need to be labeled. (Corn, canola oil, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, dextrose – a corn-based sugar – corn flour. All likely derived from GMO’s.)
2) U.S. manufacturers of processed foods who export to other countries – ALREADY LABEL. They have to in order to comply with the laws of the country in which they sell their product. Betty Crocker Red Velvet Cake Mix? Reformulated to exclude GMO ingredients, despite the fact that the same product in the U.S. still has GMO ingredients in it. They aren’t consistent. (source: Food Babe)
- FACT: Labeling has been required in European countries several years now, with no significant increase in cost.
According to a study conducted by Kai Robertson, a nationally recognized food marketing expert, the prices of supermarket foods are influenced by:
- Shopper demographics
- Brand competition
- Store characteristics
- FACT: Changes are made to labels all the time with no significant impact on prices. Walk down the aisle of your grocery stores and tell me how many food labels have been changed to reflect Breast Cancer Awareness Month, fall, Halloween, or even Christmas. The price has not changed.
- FACT: Foods are reformulated constantly to keep up with market demand. For example: High Fructose Corn Syrup. That particular ingredient began disappearing out of processed foods like granola bars and fruit juice drinks because of consumer demand. These companies added a label to it: “LOOK! No High Fructose Corn Syrup!” The price did not fluctuate.
3) 49 countries, most recently Mexico, have banned GMO crops. Courts have ruled that they are a threat to native species, the environment, and increase the need for pesticide and herbicide use, which they have deemed harmful to human health. So, a Mexican farm worker is now safer working on a farm in Mexico than in the United States.
- FACT: The biggest threat to that wheat farmer’s business is the banning of exported U.S. crops by other countries who have outlawed GMO’s in their food supply. If a farmer wants to export it to some of the United State’s key trading partners, they have to label it.
4) In one commercial, you see a person pretending to be a scientist claiming that research has shown that there is no scientific difference between a GMO crop and a non-GMO crop.
Here is where is gets complicated, but this is the most important point I’m trying to convey:
The longest study performed prior to a new seed going to field tests is ninety days. These tests are performed by scientists that work for the biotech companies. They are not sharing their findings with the general scientific community to rigorously test and back up or expand on these results because they have been forbidden from doing so. These genetically modified seeds are considered Intellectual Property, and any further testing is considered a breach of trade secrets.
Here’s the thing: biotech companies are splicing DNA into disparate species looking for a specific result. When they achieve that result, it moves on to its testing phase.
What other proteins are they creating through this process? What do those proteins do? How do they behave? How do they behave once our DNA interacts with these rogue proteins? WE DON’T KNOW. And we don’t know because they aren’t being looked for and subsequently tested. They’re not being subsequently tested because the resultant seed is “Intellectual Property.”
- FACT: So when the actor in a lab coat talks about “no significant difference,” what the actor doesn’t say is, “THAT WE KNOW OF.”
5) Here is a list, courtesy of GMOInside of the companies that have funded the “No” campaign. These companies donated mass amounts of money ($17 million total so far) to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, with the funds earmarked for the ‘No’ campaign. The GMA was forced to disclose its list of donors to the Washington State Attorney General because evidence was stacking up against them that they were laundering money to fund the No campaign:
This list does not include the biotech companies like Monsanto and BayerAgro, who have also funneled millions of dollars into the No on 522 campaign.
- OPINION: If it’s no biggie, why pour millions of dollars into defeating GMO labeling?
Listen, if you don’t care one way or the other about GMO’s in your food, that’s fine. It’s your decision. Ignore the label if you want. But, if there is a label indicating that the food you are eating has GMO ingredients, you are empowered if you choose to be. You know what you’re eating. You are choosing. If I look at that same label and decide against it, you and I are enjoying the same freedom: