Pass the (labeled) food, please: What’s wrong with genetic engineeringPublished 10:00pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Genetic engineering is a radical technology that breaks down genetic barriers between humans, plants, and animals. Once released, these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can easily spread and interbreed with other organisms, and they are virtually impossible to recall back to the factory.
Giant agribusiness companies are slowly and quietly spreading their scientifically altered seeds to so many farms that nearly half of all foods on supermarket shelves now contain some ingredient that has had its DNA tampered with by science. These franken-foods have been approved for our dinner table.
The facts about these foods – well, the few facts we’re allowed to know – are scary.
Take Monsanto. According to the Organic Consumers Association, Monsanto provides roughly 90% of GMO seeds in the world. These seeds have been genetically modified to produce their own pesticide or survive repeated spraying of their toxic herbicide Roundup. Monsanto’s GMOs are not designed to increase yields to feed the world, but rather to unconscionably increase Monsanto’s profits by increasing the use of chemicals such as Roundup and selling their high-priced patented seeds which farmers must buy every year.
The government has welcomed in this and other mega-processors with open arms. That’s right, the feds are helping them do it. They aid them with a labyrinth of government regulations that stifle the efforts of organic farms, horrify investigators and watchdog organizations and produce wide-spread fear and paralysis with family farmers.
Due to the enormous political clout of Monsanto on the whole, the American public is being denied the right to know whether their foods are genetically engineered or not. Vermont recently made history by signing a bill into law making it the first state to require genetically modified food to be labeled as such. The state also expects to be sued over it to the tune of a $1.5 million defense fund. Connecticut and Maine passed labeling requirements but with trigger clauses requiring multiple other states to pass labeling requirements before theirs go into effect. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a recent report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year.
For current information on North Carolina’s stand on labeling GMOs in our food go to http://justlabelit.org/state-initiatives. And for national information as recent as April 9, 2014, go to http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/gmo-labeling-bill-105548.html.
Here are several other facts about Monsanto and GMO’s, how they can adversely affect your health, local farmers, and the planet and what you can do.
Monsanto has fought hard to prevent labeling laws. This is alarming since 70% of processed foods in the US now contain GMO ingredients. GMO foods have a lack of adequate safety testing and alarming research revealing severe damage to animals goes widely unnoticed.
Monsanto puts small farmers out of business. Biotech bullying is happening all over North America while 60 other countries in the world have banned GMOs in their food systems.
Monsanto products pollute the developing world. Their deadly legacy Agent Orange and DDT have morphed into Roundup and is used in massive spraying by governments in counter-insurgency tactics, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.
Monsanto is found guilty of false advertising in the highest courts in other countries when labeling its herbicides as “biodegradable.”
Monsanto controls US soy market. In 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the US contained their patented gene. Within 10 years, over 90% of soybeans in the US contain Monsanto’s gene. Food allergies to soy have skyrocketed by over 50% within this time.
Read the latest news and join in on action alerts like mentioned within and organicconsumers.org. Buy organic foods within your local community. Avoid non-certified organic processed foods especially those containing corn, soy, cottonseed oil and canola. Call and send letters to our public officials and tell them to support labeling and safety testing of GMOs and subsidies to help family farmers make the transition to organic.