50 Countries Label Genetically Engineered Foods – When Will Americans have the Right to Know and Choose?

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September 27, 2012 | 268,669 views

Story at-a-glance

  • The California ballot initiative – officially known as Proposition 37 – is coming up for vote on November 6. Proposition 37 will require labeling of genetically engineered foods, and end the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as "natural"
  • Polls show Proposition 37 is overwhelmingly popular; about 65 percent for, compared to 20 percent against, with 15 percent still undecided. Nationally, over 90 percent of those polled say they want the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and ingredients
  • Nearly 50 other nations around the world require labeling for genetically engineered foods, yet the US has persistently denied its citizens the right to know whether or not a food is genetically engineered. The industry, led by Monsanto, has even threatened states with costly lawsuits, should they decide to label GE foods
  • Besides potential health effects courtesy of the genetic alterations to the crop itself, genetically engineered crops also use more agricultural chemicals, which in turn leads to increased resistance and rapid destruction of soil quality. In this way, GE crops spur the vicious cycle of resistance followed by increasing amounts of chemicals, as well as the use of increasingly toxic chemicals, such as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid – a main ingredient of Agent Orange

By Dr. Mercola

The greatest opportunity to give people the right to know if their food is genetically engineered will occur with the California ballot initiative – officially known as Proposition 37 – which is coming up for vote on November 6. Proposition 37 will require labeling of genetically engineered foods, and end the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as "natural."

Your support, regardless of what state you live in, can make all the difference between winning and losing.

As summed up by Mark Bittman in a recent New York Times piece:1

"Polls show Prop 37 to be overwhelmingly popular: roughly 65 percent 'for', to 20 percent 'against', with 15 percent undecided. Nationally, on the broader issue of labeling, in answer to the question of whether the Food and Drug Administration should require that:

'Foods which have been genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered ingredients be labeled to indicate that,' a whopping 91 percent of voters say 'yes' and 5 percent say 'no'. This is as nonpartisan as an issue gets, and the polls haven't changed much in the last couple of years.

...Prop 37 isn't a ban on foods containing genetically engineered material; it's a right-to-know law. As things stand, you can find out whether your salmon is wild or farm-raised, and where it's from, but under existing legislation you won't be able to find out whether it contains the gene of an eel.

That has to change. We have a right to know what's in the food we eat and a right to know how it's produced. This is true even if food containing or produced using GMO's were the greatest thing since crusty bread.

...If genetically engineered food is so terrific, persuade us; if it's not, well, fine. In any case, it should be up to us to buy it or not, but first we have to know what it is."

Yes. Bittman hits the nail on the proverbial head in his short but sweet blog. Proposition 37 is about the most basic of principles – the right to know what you're eating. The fact that we even have to fight for this right is mindboggling, but that's where we're at, and it would behoove everyone to get involved, lest we let this opportunity slip out of our grasp.

It's important to realize that genetically engineered foods must be labeled in nearly 50 other nations around the world, yet "the land of the free" has persistently denied its citizens the right to know whether or not a food is genetically engineered. The industry, led by Monsanto, the worst company of 2011 according to Natural Society, has gone so far as to threaten states with costly lawsuits, should they decide to label GE foods. This is about as un-American as it can get.

Meanwhile, what little research is actually done on GE food keeps revealing disturbing results. The latest comes from France, where rats fed Monsanto's GE corn, or exposed to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup), suffered tumors and multiple organ damage.2

Food Companies, including "Organic" Brands, are Spending Millions to Prevent You From Knowing what's in Your Food

As of September 17, Monsanto alone has donated a total of $7.1 million to defeat Proposition 37.3 But a long list of food companies, including some "organic" and "natural" brands, have donated millions to the opposition as well. It's difficult to understand how any company could be so stupid as to take an official stand against the consumers they depend on for their livelihood, but that's what they've done.

The corporate owners of popular brands like Kashi, Larabar, Horizon, Odwalla and Back to Nature, just to name a few,4 have literally taken earnings they made from unaware consumers and spent it on an anti-labeling campaign in order to prevent you from ever knowing what's really in the food they charge you a premium for...

These brands present a wholesome, all-natural, environmentally-conscious façade, yet genetically engineered crops end up requiring far more agricultural chemicals than others, and some of them even have the pesticide built in! Agricultural chemicals are denaturing and destroying soil composition at a staggering rate, courtesy of glyphosate-hungry GE seeds.

And whether or not you believe agricultural chemicals belong in a wholesome diet is beside the point. You still ought to have the right to decide whether you want to spend your money on foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients, as environmental sustainability is another major concern for many of today's consumers.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 The New York Times September 15, 2012
  • 2 Reuters September 19, 2012
  • 3 The Cornucopia Institute September 17, 2012
  • 4 Organic Consumers Association August 23, 2012
  • 5 Reuters June 26, 2012