As we have been expecting, a coalition comprised of industrial food, Big Ag and chemical corporations made an announcement supporting a federal voluntary GMO labeling initiative. This “initiative” only accomplishes more of the pro-GMO corporations’ goal of keeping everyone in the dark.
They have given themselves the lofty, nausea-inducing and typically misleading, title “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, here are a few of the untruths found on their website:
“GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet. GMO crops use less water and fewer pesticides, reduce the price of crops by 15-30% and can help us feed a growing global population of seven billion people.” [Maybe they don’t know you can find the truth by watching Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives online.]
“Every credible U.S. and international food safety authority that has studied GMO crops has found that they are safe and that there are no health effects associated with their use. In fact, Italian scientists recently analyzed nearly 1800 scientific studies on GMOs, and found overwhelming scientific consensus that there are no harmful effects from GMO consumption.” [Wonder why Russian scientists called for a 10-year ban on GMOs? Or China has refused GMO corn?]
“GMO crops use less water, fewer pesticides and reduce the cost of crops by 15-30 percent.” [Then why are American farmers losing interest in GMOs?]
One in eight people among the world’s growing population of 7 billion do not have enough to eat. Safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the world, including those that suffer from hunger and malnutrition in developing nations.” [Does “safe and effective” include all the glyphosate found in the world’s drinking water, soil and umbilical cords?]
“The global population is expected to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050 and we will need 70% more agricultural production to meet the challenge. And population growth over the next 35 years will take place during a time of greater climate volatility, placing new and increased pressure on the world’s farmers. GMO crops are instrumental to our ability to keep pace with a growing global population and do so sustainably.” [Although non-GMO seeds yield the same as GMOs. But, whatever, Monsanto.]
Seems we in the farm food freedom movement have hit a nerve. We must be on the right track. This announcement reinforces the need for us to stay the course and keep up the organized popular response.
Companies that manufacture the chemicals used on GMO crops and those that process GMOs into our food—the ones behind the “coalition” above, are not about to slap on a “voluntary” label with any meaningful standards. This announcement is a vicious threat, a war cry, a line in the sand and should be treated as such. They are about to unleash the largest disassociation campaign in human history, possibly spending upwards of $500 million. This is not a joke.
People who care what is in their food should not expect to see full disclosure regarding a food’s GMO content any time soon–if ever–should this coalition have its way.
We have to work with the current reality, which is this: federal regulatory agencies control our food supply, supposedly on behalf of the taxpayer. In fact, these agencies act primarily to protect the profit margins of the industries they purport to regulate on our behalf. Crony capitalism provides tax-payer funded subsidies for what the consumer does not want to pay for.
We have to remember, the GMO labeling debate is not a war between farmers. Most small farmers are struggling to stay afloat, whether or not they grow GMOs. Vilifying farmers or pitting them against each other only serves to move the dialog away from our common goals and reduces our chances of achieving meaningful results. We must be cautious of the divisiveness this can lead to.
So what is the solution to this level of deception? While some companies have gone the extra labeling mile, most companies do not even provide accurate information to the customers they depend on. Not addressing the real need for GMO labeling is flawed. Asking questions, again and again and again, opening this dialogue, bringing light to the issue, this is the beginning of the solution. Our voices will rise and actions will follow.
Labeling alone will not solve the rampant problems associated with GMOs which include environmental, health and economic hazards. The solution will be realized by our actions, our actions fueled by information. Sometimes that information comes from a label. More often, it comes from sharing facts and science with each other.
With the coalition’s plans finally on the table and out in the open, we cannot wait for that eventuality; we have power now and can take steps toward meaningful change immediately.
Here are some changes that will effectively work to create significant disclosure:
- Changes in buying habits—use your purchase power to stay away from GMO foods
- Growing/producing some of your own food
- Know the farmer(s) who produce your food
- Always asking producers if a food contains GMO
- Looking for the Non-GMO verified logo
With this new challenge in place, we must make extra effort to show how important this information is for us by making informed buying decisions. We must take as many of these actions as we can and ask our friends and neighbors to do so as well.
We have more power to affect change in this arena than many of us recognize. By working with local producers, asking what they use, supporting their transitions to non-GMO products, supporting your local non-GMO producers and growing some of our own food—we create real on-the-ground solutions to the problem of GMO labeling, or lack thereof.
Our next steps are clear. What is needed is a large, vocal, continuous, outcry, a boycott the system, tear down the walls, “I’m not going to take it any more!” attitude from the public. Be upset! Be outraged! Take a stand! Get connected, use your voice, make a difference. Change the world.
Wherever you are in your personal journey toward clean living and local food, thank you for joining me in mine. I look forward to sharing it with you.