Are GMOs Good or Bad? Genetic Engineering & Our Food



The Scary Truth About GMO Labeling

This is how much the U.S. is behind the times on clean food: Sixty-four countries have labeling requirements that demand transparency on whether a food contains genetically modified (GM) ingredients. And the U.S. is not one of them.

Before you point the finger at your Dorito-munching office mates who you know don't give a rat's ass about gene-splicing in the world's corn supply, know this: A whopping 91% of Americans support GMO labeling in polls. So what gives? Why hasn't the U.S. been able to pass any GMO-labeling laws to date?

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Well, kids, it may have something to do with the zillions of dollars Monsanto and various industry groups have funneled to shut down the labeling effort. And it could be that many big brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks (say it ain't so, PSL!) have thrown their support to pro-GMO organizations behind the scenes.

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Surprised? Don't be. Nor should you be shocked to learn that the average anti-GMO campaigns lack funding in a very scary way. Here, we give you the history of America's GMO movement, from the first-ever GM food in the world to today, when the future of our food is fairly sketchy.

Dual citizenship in France is looking better than ever.

May 1994:
The Flavr Savr, a tomato engineered to resist softening, becomes the first commercially grown GM food granted a license for human consumption. Its makers, California biotech company Calgene, trick out the tomato's release with a voluntary GMO label and point-of-purchase pamphlets explaining how it was developed. Shortly thereafter, Calgene is acquired by Monsanto and the Flavr Savr (and its enthusiastic labeling) disappear from the market.

November 2002:
Measure 27 in Oregon, the fist ballot initiative that attempted to mandate GMO labeling on foods, is defeated. Experts at the Center for Food Safety attribute the loss to a lack of widespread knowledge and consumer support of the issue.

May 2005:
Alaskan lawmakers catch word of GM fish swimming down the R&D pipeline. They make a preemptive law requiring the labeling of all GM fish and shellfish. (Yes, there is such a thing as GM fish, thanks to companies like AquaBounty, whose AquAdvantage salmon matures twice as fast as the real thing. As of 2015, the FDA has yet to announce its decision on approval of the fish.)

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November 2012:
California's Proposition 37 ballot initiative, which would have required GM labeling, is defeated by a super-slim margin. The Center for Food Safety reports that food and biotech giants spend five times more than grassroots pro-labeling groups on the campaign. Our buddies at Monsanto alone chip in .1 million to ensure the prop gets shut down.

MORE:What "Natural" Really Means

November 2013:
After heated ad campaigns from both yes and no camps, Washington state's Initiative 522 to require GMO labeling is defeated by a margin of 2.18%.

June 2013:
Connecticut's legislature approves the first state law to require labeling of all GM foods (by an overwhelming vote of 134 to 3). Governor Dannell Malloy signs the bill into law with one important caveat: The legislation will not go into effect until four nearby states, including a bordering state, pass similar labeling laws. The conditional rollout is all about strength in numbers, as a cohort of states will be more likely to defend themselves against legal action than one alone.

January 2014:
Maine's senate passes its own GMO labeling law with the same conditions as Connecticut's.

May 2014:
Vermont governor Peter Shumlin signs a GMO-labeling mandate into law, one with no conditions at all. "Vermonters take our food and how it is produced seriously, and we believe we have a right to know what's in the food we buy," Shumlin says to crowds gathered at the state house. (Not that anyone heard him: Ben & Jerry's was there handing out free ice cream to anti-GMO revelers.) The law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2019.

June 2014:
Mere weeks after Vermont mandates GMO labeling, the Grocery Manufacturer's Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association, and National Association of Manufacturers file a massive joint lawsuit against the state, claiming its demands are "costly and misguided."

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July 2014:
Oregon prepares for its second fight for GMO labeling, as Measure 92 qualifies for November 2014's ballot.

August 2014:
Colorado follows suit by approving its own initiative for the 2014 ballot: Proposition 105.

November 2014:
People somehow just figure out that Starbucks is a member of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association, one of the groups challenging the legality of Vermont's labeling law, and Facebook reaches Defcon 1 status over the news. Three-hundred thousand people sign a petition asking 'Bucks to withdraw its membership. It doesn't.

In Colorado, the defeat is decisive. More than 65% vote against Prop 105 and only 34.3% support it. No one is surprised to learn that the disparity in votes likely stems from a disparity in funding. The anti-labeling campaign reported more about .5 million in contributions, from all the usual suspects like Monsanto, ConAgra, Coco-Cola, and Kellogg. The pro-labeling campaign's budget? Not even 0,000.

In Oregon, things get trickier. The measure is reported to be the most expensive in state history (Anti-labeling spent more than million; pro-labeling, just over million). Initially, it's declared defeated. But as the final districts post their numbers, the margin grows smaller and smaller—small enough to require an official recount.

There are a few small victories, too: On the Hawaiian island of Maui, voters narrowly approve a that bans the growth, testing, or cultivation of GM crops "until an Environmental Public Health Impact Statement" can prove that they cause no harm.

And citizens in Humboldt Country, California vote to ban the cultivation of GM crops within county lines. Not a huge deal, considering that less than 5% of the county's total acreage is classified as cropland, but still, a powerful message.

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December 2014
Oregon's Measure 92 is defeated again—this time, for good. The official recount shows that the measure loses by just 837 votes out of 1.5 million cast. But it doesn't happen without some drama. A group of citizens file an emergency lawsuit against the state over 4,600 votes that were annulled because voters' signatures on the ballots didn't match the signatures the state had on file. A judge dismisses the suit and the defeat stands.

Future:
Want to break the astronomically expensive state ballot cycle? Your best bet is to pick up the phone. "Talking to your Congress people at the local and state level is the most important thing you can do," says Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director at the Center for Food Safety.






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Date: 14.12.2018, 03:02 / Views: 51231