What’s In Your Food?

Just check the label. Are the letters GMO anywhere to be found? No, and that’s because there is no requirement at the state or federal level that it be displayed. We should know the statistics: 95% of Americans want GMOs labeled, GMOs are already in 80% of conventional processed food, GMOs have not been tested for long-term impacts on human health, GMOs are restricted or banned in more than 64 countries. So what’s going on?

Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) are everywhere, and people should have the right to decide whether or not to eat them. There are concerns about the environmental impacts and health impacts of the chemicals used to treat GMO crops. Chief among these is glyphosate, the top-selling herbicide in the world. It has been recently determined as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and research has proven other negative health implications. The long term effects of GMO foods are still not fully understood. Also, Glyphosate treated weeds have evolved and adapted, resulting in herbicide-tolerant “superweeds,” causing farmers to increase the amount used. Residue from these toxins can end up in food crops.  Soil fertility can also be affected. Non-GMO crops are also threatened by drifting herbicides and pollen from GE crops.

The biotechnology industry and big food corporations have spent tens of millions of dollars in advertising and political lobbying to defeat efforts to pass GMO mandatory labeling laws at the state and federal level. In New York, there are labeling bills in the Assembly and Senate which are working their way through the system.

Right now there is a bill in Congress approved by the House of Representatives, best described as the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know). This bill would prohibit states from requiring labeling of GMO food. The FDA will not be allowed to require pre-market safety testing of GMO foods, much less require labels. It will allow “natural” foods to contain GMO ingredients and preempt states efforts to end bogus “natural” claims.

Vermont became the first state to require GMO labeling, the bill to take effect July 1, 2016. When this happens other states will quickly follow, including Maine and Connecticut.

On a positive note, thanks to pressure from consumers, major food companies Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Mars have announced that as soon as mid-April they will begin labeling their GMO products.

What you can do:

1) Call or write your state and federal representatives and tell them that you want meaningful, mandatory on-packaging labeling of genetically engineered foods.

2) Buy organic as much as possible.

3) Talk with local food producers at roadside stands and farmer’s markets and your local grocery store manager.

4) Join our GMO Labeling Group. To find out more about our local meetings, contact Michael Frys at mhfrys17@yahoo.com or 607-723-0726. 5) Subscribe to the Organic Consumer’s Association newsletter, Organic Bytes, at organicconsumers.org, for the current status of GMOs and labeling.

GMO labeling should be the law. We have the right to know what is in our food in order to make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families

 

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