Since we were all children, we were warned not to eat the poison under the sink. The obnoxious skull and crossbones on the label was there to protect us. But what about the items that are not labeled? Genetically Modified foods are the unmarked poisons of our society and could pose a threat to consumers. Big biotechnology companies are using lobbyist techniques to battle to consumer fight for GMO labeling. It is time for consumers to defend their health and stand up for their right to know what is in their food despite the economic excuses presented by the food industry.
GMOs are a relatively new scientific invention. Large companies are using this advancement in technology to lower costs and increase profits, but at what expense? Research conducted by Maghari and Ardekani shows that companies do not want to label their foods because it would “[resemble] a skull and cross bones on a food which makes consumers reluctant in using any bio-engineering products.” Should we be concerned that companies are comparing labeling these products to the labeling of poisons?
In addition to the food industry opposing the labeling movement, the government is also contributing to their cause. The “Monsanto Protection Act” was signed in March 2013. This act limits the judicial review capabilities of the government even in the event of health complications of GMOs. The government will not be allowed to stop the sales of these products according to Connor Sheets. With the government protecting the businesses, and the businesses protecting themselves, no one is watching out for the wellbeing of consumers, even the consumers themselves are not protecting one another. Someone has to hold these corporations accountable for what they are giving to the public.
Consumers are not asking these companies to put a “poison” label on their product. Movements such as the Prop 37 movement in
California simply want the industries to label if products contain GM ingredients. Over 35 other countries have adopted these laws to protect their consumers, and it is time for the U.S. to do the same. There are so many GM products out there that it is nearly impossible to avoid them; however, labeling would give consumers the option to choose what they will consume and what they will avoid.
This is what the food industry is worried about. If they label their products, consumers will be able to say “no” to their product a lot easier. The companies would then be at the mercy of what consumers want. What a horrifying thought that consumers would actually buy something that they want to support! Companies would then be forced to cater to what consumers demand whether this is more GMOs or reverting back to conventionally farmed crops.
The first step is simple: vote with your dollars. I know it sounds too good to be true, but companies are going to go where the money is. They cannot profit on GMOs if consumers refuse to buy them, and in the meantime, you will be protecting yourself and your family from these potentially dangerous foods.
The second step is easy too: sign the petition to overturn legislation that protects these large industries over the citizens of this country. These companies are only worried about the economic consequences of labeling. Dembosky from the Financial Times states that $33 million has been spent to prevent the Prop 37 movement alone with the chief argument that it would have a negative economic impact on companies. Expert Joanna Bailey argues that Europe did not see a rise in costs as a result of labeling, and the U.S. would not experience the dramatic impact that companies would like to suggest. Companies such as Monsanto are spending millions of dollars to keep consumers in the dark, so should we be concerned about what they are hiding?
The harsh reality of the American food industry lays in what the consumers are being told, or not being told. You thought you fed your child a tomato last week, excuse me while I “LOL”, but really you fed them a GMO that was designed to use less water, has pesticide resistance allowing farmers to use more pesticides without harming the product, and it was picked weeks early (but that’s okay, they are going to ripen in with Ethylene). The average food travels 1500 miles to get to your plate. This extensive process is all designed to save money for corporations.
The next time you eat a tomato, or the spaghetti sauce, ketchup, or salsa that this product was used in, do you want to know how it got to your plate? Vote with your dollars to prevent corporate abuse of the legal system and consumers that it is supposed to serve. Protect your family and look for the unmarked poisons that could be on your dinner plate.
Tomato image courtesy of http://www.reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org/