Survey says US wants GMO labels

By Observer Upload August 14, 2013 10:25 am
July 26 Capital Press editorial titled, “Anti-GMO Crusaders Miss Rest of Story,” missed the rest of the story. That part of the story is what the biotech industry doesn’t want the public to know.

The editorial stated, “ ... that some folks don’t want to buy, or eat, food with genetically modified ingredients. Any consumer can walk into any grocery store or farmers’ market and buy certified organic.”

Some folks? Actually, surveys show 80 to 90 percent of Americans want food containing GMO ingredients to be labeled. Moreover, it is not true that any consumer can buy organic. Organic is more expensive and so there are many, many Americans who cannot afford to buy organic. They are left buying and feeding their children foods they believe to be safe.

Labeling GMO foods is the right thing to do, so people can make a choice. Contrary to the pro-GMO propaganda, labeling will not cost consumers more money. In this period of economic stress, the biotech industry is using higher costs as a fear tactic. All companies are already required to label food ingredients. Companies update their labels yearly. That cost is built into the company’s budget, it’s just a part of doing business. Adding a few more words will not increase the price of the food. It will, however, give Americans the choice to buy or not to buy a particular food product. People in over 60 countries already have that choice. Why not Americans?

We do not know the long-term effects of GMOs, but are just now beginning to discover the possibilities. The results of a long-term, peer-reviewed study conducted by the University of Caen’s molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini were revealed in 2012. The study tested the long-term health effects of feeding rats, diets consisting of different percentages of Monsanto’s RoundUp-Ready corn. The researchers found that rats fed genetically engineered corn and those whose water contained environmentally relevant levels of the herbicide RoundUp, faced the following: 

• Two to three times more large tumors than the control group. 

• Females developed mammary and pituitary gland tumors, suffered pituitary gland abnormalities and hormone disruption. 

• Male rats also developed tumors, but in particular experienced serious kidney and liver damage. 

• 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely compared to 30 percent and 20 percent respectively in the control groups.

We can expect to see more and more pro-GMO propaganda as we get closer to the November elections, where I-522, an initiative to require mandatory labeling of GMOs, is on the ballot in Washington. 

The rest of the story? We can only pray that America’s future generations are not dealing with the ill health effects of GMO technology that is not being adequately tested before it is being imposed on our children. Time will tell. At the very least we should learn more before allowing widespread growing of GMO crops. Labeling food products as containing GMO ingredients is at present our only chance to control what we put into our bodies. No matter what GMO advocates state, we the people, have that right to choose by knowing what is in our food.

 About the author:

Rick McEwan, 64, is a professional wildlife photographer who lives in rural Enterprise.

My Voice columns should be 500 to 700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. 

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