Lack of Labeling on GMO Food Is A Vote Against Democracy
Like most US citizens, I am a product of the American Dream. My Hungarian grandparents escaped the 1956 Revolution, and waited anxiously in an Austrian refugee camp until they had passed the requisite medical, political, and literacy tests to be allowed entry at Ellis Island. They came here seeking freedom and a better life, including the right to vote. So it is with mixed emotions that I watch, two generations later, with a child of my own, the results of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, knowing that at a most fundamental level, one of our most basic rights is being stripped away: the right to know what it is we are eating. Which is why I’ve agreed to support Just Label It a grassroots campaign to require the labeling of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
It seems simple enough. But manufacturers have apparently decided we may not want to buy what they’re selling - if we know more about it. And thanks to the 5-4 Citizens United decision, giving corporations a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts to influence election outcomes, our elected officials seem a little hesitant to mess with Big Business such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, who currently control almost 50% of global seed supplies.
I don’t want my child growing up in a world where going to the grocery store is akin to a rat entering a science lab, but with the current direction of our food supply chain, it’s not that far off.
Between 70 and 80% of food on supermarket shelves in America is genetically engineered.
Countries like Italy, England, France, Japan and Brazil have passed legislation requiring labels on products containing genetically engineered ingredients.
The United States meanwhile, is deregulating (allowing) GMOS in our food supply on a regular basis.
Without labeling, and without any policy preventing crop contamination, the truth is that you’re playing the part of the rat in the genetically modified food science experiment.
Mothers in particular, may want to take heed. A disturbing report out of Canada last May found that 93 percent of pregnant mothers tested had the genetically engineered Bt toxin in their blood, something biotech scientists claimed was impossible. (Listen up Kate Middleton – your father-in-law, long a proponent of organic agriculture and farming systems – would not want his grandchild exposed to GMO’s!)
If you eat anything with soy, corn, canola, alfalfa or sugar beets you’re probably eating GMO’s. Think you’re free? If you eat anything prepackaged and the ingredients contain Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, or Yeast Products, you’re probably eating GMO’s.
In 2011 Dr. Don Huber, a retired Army colonel, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University and a member of the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens Committee for the USDA under Homeland Security, wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack an urgent letter detailing concern over a pathogen found in Roundup Ready crops, one that impacted the fertility of livestock, caused miscarriages, and created a fatal AIDS like syndrome in plants. Dr. Huber implored the Obama Administration complete further testing before releasing more Roundup Ready crops into the American food chain.
“This is highly sensitive information that could severely impact US food and feed supplies,” Huber wrote.
However, instead of delaying the release and opening up further research and resources, the Obama Administration, bowed down and released more GMO crops within weeks of this very concerning revelation.
Democracy can’t exist if we don’t have choice. Depending on whose research you believe, between 4 and 11 companies currently control two-thirds of global food seed sales. Willie Nelson says it’s four.
If we do not take action, and at a minimum give citizens the right to vote for - or against - GMO’s every time they choose to purchase – or not purchase – a food product via transparent labeling, I fear the very democracy that inspired our ancestors to citizenry, may be on its way toward endangered species status. Our eyes are glued with amusement to the latest political gaffaw and celebrity gossip, while we head toward a life of servitude, bowed down to the handful of corporations that control our food.
EcoMom Alliance is a 501.c.3 non-profit organization empowering mothers to create a healthy and sustainable world. Mothers represent a tremendous power as both role models and a market force, representing up to 85% of dollars spent in the United States alone. By sharing information and tools, we can make simple choices in our homes and communities that ripple out and protect our children and our environment for generations to come.