Vermont’s law – Act 120 – will require food containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled, effective July 1, 2016.
To many, this is fantastic news! On the surface, this seems like a giant leap for mankind! Products containing genetically modified organisms/genetically engineered products will soon be labeled for all to see and know!
GMOs are a touchy subject, I know. One journalist for the Huffington Post writes “When it comes to the subject of GMO (Genetically-Modified Organism) food, it’s hard not to have an opinion. You might be skeptical or inquisitive, outraged or indifferent; perhaps more often than not, you feel a little of each.”
I’ve found myself displaying many of these same sentiments towards this worldwide trend towards genetically modifying plants AND animals in an attempt to feed the world and make this intricately created pattern of nature…better… ?
In case you’re not 100% sure what a GMO is or how to define it, here you go:
Plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.
-From the glossary on the Monsanto website.
Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.
-World Health Organization
” “Genetically Engineered Foods”, “Genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. These transgenic methods for moving genes around are also called “genetic engineering,” or GE.
“This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.” (- justlabelit.org)
My question is this: Why take things that have worked fine for thousands of years and give them DNA and traits that are not naturally theirs?
But what’s this about a new labeling law – that’s what we want isn’t it? The people of Vermont want to know which products contain genetically modified products so that they can make informed purchasing decisions. That’s great! The problem is, just a week before a Vermont law kicks in requiring labels on food containing genetically modified ingredients, U.S. Senate agriculture leaders announced a deal that takes the power out of states’ hands — and sets a mandatory national system for GM disclosures on food products. While food companies would be required to disclose which products contain genetically modified ingredients, the companies would have a range of options in just how they make that disclosure: They could place text on food packaging (HA! like that will happen), provide a QR code, or print a phone number or a website for more information. While this seems like an OK compromise, it still doesn’t seem to help much… (Have you ever called the number on the back of your chip bag for any reason?) Unfortunately, the standard would also exempt certain types of genetic engineering from the labeling requirements.
Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt, and chairman of the Just Label It campaign, says that: “This proposal falls short of what consumers rightly expect — a simple at-a-glance disclosure on the package,”
Hm. Seems to me that what consumers should expect is to take responsibility for their food buying choices. What we all should be doing is educating ourselves and wading through the mass of information surrounding such an issue while searching for truth and finding conviction!
Why genetically engineer? What about feeding the planet and world hunger? Health risks, seriously? – hasn’t the FDA given them approval? Will we be able to afford food without GMOs? Haven’t people been selectively breeding animals and hybridizing seeds for years?
Are you willing to set out on a journey of discovery and quest for truth? Join me in the upcoming weeks as I answer these questions (and possibly more)!