Skip to comments.The case for mandatory GMO labeling
Posted on 06/18/2012 3:53:02 PM PDT by southern rock
The case for mandatory GMO labeling - even if you believe in limited government and the free market
(NaturalNews) Now that the GMO labeling ballot measure has been officially accepted onto the California ballot, Monsanto is gearing up its propaganda campaign that aims to convince people you don't need to know what you're eating! Trust us, we're the food companies! We never lie, do we?
For the record, I'm an opponent of most government mandates against individuals. When the government says you have to give your children vaccine shots, that's a violation of your liberty. When Mayor Bloomberg says you can't buy a 16 oz. soda in New York, that's a violation of your liberty, too -- even though I am opposed to soda consumption in general.
When the government says you can't drink raw milk, or you can't treat cancer with medicinal herbs, or you have to get EPA approval before building a house on your own neighborhood lot, those are all examples of government mandates against individuals gone terribly wrong.
But this GMO labeling ballot measure is not a government mandate against the People. In fact, it's quite the opposite: A People-powered mandate against the corporations.
Forcing corporations to tell the truth
It is the People of California, after all, who developed this GMO labeling ballot measure, gathered the signatures, and put it on the ballot. And the point of it is solely to keep corporations honest about what they put in our food. It is, technically, merely an extension of existing food ingredient labeling laws, and I can't think of a single person who would argue that food companies shouldn't even be required to list food ingredients.
For the record, I've actually lived in a country where food ingredients were not required to be listed on labels. It was a nightmare trying to avoid MSG because food companies consistently and tirelessly seek to deceive consumers about what they put into foods. Without labeling laws, we would all soon be eating melamine, human fetal cells, and mystery chemicals of dubious origin (even beyond what we're already eating).
If the GMO labeling issue were up to the government of California, there would be no ballot measure whatsoever. The biotech industry rules over corrupt government bureaucrats and politicians because it can always buy sufficient influence to kill any legislative initiative. Such is the reasoning behind a people-powered ballot measure: It is the one lawmaking mechanism still available to the People who can bypass corruption and go straight to the voters. Of course, even if passed, the ballot measure is subject to state Supreme Court interpretation, and that's an important measure to make sure the masses of any state don't enact a law that would deprive other people of their constitutional rights and liberties.
But GMO labeling is a threat to no one other than the deceptively-operated biotech industry itself. GMO labeling is an effort to force corporations to simply tell the truth on food labels so that moms, dads, children and everybody else can know what they're buying and eating.
The proper use of regulatory power
The People forcing their state government to mandate honest food labels is one of the few legitimate applications of government regulatory power. This is true even if you believe, as I do, that government is too big, too oppressive, too arrogant and way too expensive. Today in America, we suffer from bloated government that has become a serious threat to the liberty of the People. Yet to take that argument and use it to say that GMO labeling mandates are an encroachment of liberties is a logic error: this mandate is directed solely at corporations with a proven track record of deceiving the People. In no way is GMO labeling encroaching upon individual rights or liberties. If anything, it actually empowers individuals with accurate information about their free market choices of what they're buying.
The free market requires accurate information about products
One of the most fundamental concepts of the free market is that both producers and consumers benefit from access to accurate information about what they are buying or selling. This is fundamental to the efficiency of any free market. But biotech companies selling GMOs want the market to be a one-way mirror -- they know what's in the food but you don't!
Consumers therefore don't know what they're buying, and thus you don't have a free market... you have a contrived market where products are deceptively labeled to make sure that consumers do not have access to accurate information about what they're buying.
Think about it: the successful selling of GMOs depends entirely on consumers not knowing they are buying them. Nearly every other product is sold because people actually want it: People buy vitamin C because they want vitamin C. They buy whole wheat bread because they want whole wheat. But they only buy GMOs because they are not aware they are buying GMOs.
Genetically engineered food ingredients, in other words, are purchased entirely by accident by nearly everyone who buys them. That's not a free market. That's not transparency. That's deception. It is what destroys consumer confidence in the free market, thereby harming the efficiencies of the market itself. How many corn-based food products, for example, are entirely avoided by informed consumers today merely because they suspect those products might contain GMOs even if they don't?
If GMOs are so good, why don't the food companies want them listed on food labels?
The other big question in all this concerns the GMO "feature" of foods. Genetically modified seeds, you see, are sold to farmers with all sorts of features. "These seeds are different," companies like Monsanto promise farmers. "They will increase your crop yields and make you more money."
But when it comes to food labeling, Monsanto speaks with a forked tongue to the FDA." GMOs are no different," they claim. "Therefore, there's no need to list them on food labels."
How can GMOs be different, and yet be not different at the same time? How can Monsanto apply for patents on GM seeds by claiming they are "unique" and then claim there's no need to regulate them because they are "equivalent" to other seeds? It's a bald-faced contradiction, as anyone can readily tell.
It's easier to just call it a lie... a convenient lie that sells more food containing genetically modified ingredients. Because, again, the only reason most consumers even purchase foods contain GM ingredients is because they are completely unaware of what they're really buying.
Monsanto would love to keep it this way. Its entire business model depends on a lack of transparency. Withholding information from consumers is central to its business model. Telling the truth on food labels would destroy its business revenues because consumers would then be operating with reliable information, making free market choices based on accurate information.
But Monsanto, you see, is the enemy of a free market. Just like the Rockefellers, the JP Morgans, Goldman Sachs... you name it. Powerful corporate interests that collude with government almost always do so as a way to somehow cheat or betray consumers. The last thing they want is to be forced to actually tell the truth about what they're selling (and what you're buying).
Want to audit the Fed? You'll want to audit your FOOD even more...
Why do lovers of liberty wish to audit the Federal Reserve? Because we demand transparency. We all deserve to know what's being done with our money, right?
By the same token, we should just as much wish to audit our food and find out what's in it. After all, we eat this stuff. It impacts our health and lives in a profound way. Food labels are like little food audit reports: At a glance, we can know the ingredients and nutrition facts. With the help of GMO labeling, we will also be able to tell if ingredients are genetically engineered.
Everyone who believes in transparency from government and corporations by definition must also agree with mandatory GMO labeling. It's about telling the truth so that consumers can make an informed choice in a free market economy.
You've got to wonder: What business is so ashamed of its products that it doesn't even want its technology identified on product labels? The answer, of course, is the biotech industry.
To oppose GMO labeling is to side with Monsanto
The final point here is that to oppose GMO labeling -- full transparency so that consumers to know what they're buying -- is to play right into the hands of Monsanto itself. This corporation, in fact, will likely spent tens of millions of dollars attempting to defeat the California ballot initiative in the hopes that foods containing GMOs can continue to be deceptively sold to consumers who have no idea what they're actually buying.
Again, Monsanto's business model depends on consumers NOT having access to accurate information about what they're buying. Market success means withholding information from customers. Gotcha, sucka!
What's beautiful about the GMO labeling ballot measure is that people from all walks of life strongly support it: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and almost everybody else. People overwhelmingly agree -- over 90% in the polls I've seen -- with the simple principle that we have the right to know what we're buying and eating. It's not a complicated issue. It's a fundamental principle of consumer choice and free market efficiency.
This is why I will personally continue to strongly advocate support for this GMO labeling initiative, regardless of what the biotech industry might do to try to obfuscate the issue in the minds of voters. That effort will be significant, no doubt. Everything is on the line for this industry which is terrified of having to tell the truth. When full transparency would cause an entire industry to lose 90 percent of its customers, you have to scratch your head and wonder what they're selling people in the first place.
The California GMO ballot measure -- a grassroots measure put on the ballot by the People in the face of fierce corporate resistance -- would force the biotech industry to simply tell the truth. It is the ultimate expression of the People demanding fundamental transparency from an industry so powerful that it has successfully threatened states
(http://www.naturalnews.com/035628_Monsanto_Vermont_GMO_labeling.html) and even entire nations
(http://www.naturalnews.com/030828_GMOs_Wikileaks.html) with economic sanctions.
Passage of this GMO labeling initiative will be a victory for transparency, a victory for the free market, and a victory for the People. It is time that We the People demanded full transparency from the companies that produce the food we feed ourselves and our children.
NaturalNews thanks all those who support this honest labeling effort. With your support, we can make history together and end the scourge of GMOs in America -- even in the face of powerful corporations and governments which would greatly prefer we all stay uninformed.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036209_GMO_labeling_ballot_measure_California.html#ixzz1yBgoU0XT
The big-government/big-corporate criminal complex knows what is best for you.
Did they mention the ultimate “feature”? Seedless product.
Farmers then “must” go back to the corporation to get seed.
That’s a pretty good argument, but I still haven’t seen any serious evidence that genetically-modified food is any different from Gregor Mendel’s experiments.
ALLERGIC REACTIONS FROM GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD Genetic engineering can actually result in unexpected allergens and toxins in food and reduced nutritional value. Pioneer Hybrid, a seed breeding company in the U.S., decided to remodel soybeans to give a more balanced protein by introducing a gene from Brazil nuts. It resulted in a soybean that had a balanced amino acid composition because it had more methionine in it. The problem was that after they had spent several million dollars and several years, they discovered almost by accident that this same protein caused the soybeans to be allergenic so that it was not safe to put on the market. Even so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Pioneer Hybrid permission to put it on the market. Pioneer Hybrid realized there would be a risk of cross contamination and litigation caused by people getting sick or maybe dying because allergic reactions are not always mild. So they did a very wise and ethical thing and wisely chose not to market this product.
TOXINS IN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD The next story illustrates how toxins can be produced by genetic engineering, and it does not have such a happy ending. A Japanese company named Showa Denko had been producing the amino acid tryptophan for many years by extracting it from natural bacteria, and people had been getting good results with it. Tryptophan is used as a natural relaxant. They then had the great idea that if they genetically engineered these bacteria to produce tryptophan in larger amounts and more efficiently it would be more profitable for them. Because the laws in the U.S. are very sloppy about these things, they were allowed to put this on the market without any safety testing whatsoever. As a result within a few months, about 5,000 people became sick and 1,500 of those are still sick today. They were permanently disabled by the toxin in this tryptophan and 37 of them actually died. It is the opinion of many scientists that genetic engineering caused this bacteria to produce toxic tryptophan. A study published in Science (250, 1990) found that Showa Denko's tryptophan was contaminated with a "novel amino acid" not normally present in tryptophan.
REDUCED NUTRIENTS IN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD There is an example of a genetically engineered food which had reduced nutritional value, and you may be familiar with it. The FLAVR-SAVR tomato was introduced several years ago, but it tasted so bad that they had to take it off the market. It was designed to be stored for at least six weeks and still look beautiful. This was called "extended shelf life", and it was done by destroying the product of one gene that is involved in the decay process. The problem is that the decay process is a complex one and involves more than one gene, so even though those tomatoes continued looking beautiful on the shelf, the decay process continued to occur inside the tomato and reduced the nutritional value.
Monsanto already makes farmer’s do that. They have a history of harrasing farmers who they accuse of reusing their (Monsanto’s) seeds.
It’s amazing, but in previous threads on this subject some posters actually tried to represent a GMO labeling requirement as an example of big government out-of-control. As if a corporation has a greater right to refuse to fully label their product than hundreds of millions of consumers have to know what they’re buying and ingesting into their bodies.
Is it perhaps because, like "alar", "pink slime", and "DDT", the term has been demagogued into non-desirability in spite of, or perhaps because of its lack of harm and even (gasp!) possible benefit?
No, I don't work for Monsanto, and I don't seek out "GMO" foods. On the other hand, I don't go out of my way to avoid them. They may kill me-- but for thousands of years people have died after lifetimes of "organic", and I don't see myself escaping their fate.
And for the other side:
NaturalNews could use some honest labeling too.
What is done in the lab today is really no different. We get better food that grows in a wider variety of environments and is more profitable for the producer.
Unless one subscribes to the OWS style belief that Monsanto is the personification of a big, evil, capitalist corporation making profit at the worlds expense, I really don't see a problem.
Really? They are pretty straight forward
Yes, it is. We didn't have Monsanto at the begining of human history engineering Round-Up into the DNA of seeds
Unless one subscribes to the OWS style belief that Monsanto is the personification of a big, evil, capitalist corporation making profit at the worlds expense,
Monsanto is one corporation, that really deserves it's negative reputation.
And, one, who doesn’t, know how to use, his comma’s or, apo’strophe’s.
Oh such a "gotcha" Ouch.
And this matters how or is relevant to the thread how?
Please, I'm anxious to hear what is so "crackpot" about all this
“With your support, we can make history together and end the scourge of GMOs in America”.
It is the same sort of subterfuge that was used against DDT and the genetically manipulated crops of the “green revolution”
I wonder if the NaturalNews folks would be interested in labeling all foods with information on the toxins found in them “naturally”.
Round Up is being found in mother’s milk due to GMO corn.
There is a difference between grafting different plants together to create desirable taste and texture of food, and manipulating a plant’s genetic code to enable it to uptake herbicide and pesticide without “harming” the plant.
I also have issue with Monsanto suing farmers for using GMO seeds when they initially never planted such GMO crops, but cross pollination bled into their fields.
I also have an issue with terminator seeds.
I want a choice between buying corn chips that are non GMO, or GMO. I would choose the former if I had the choice. I would be willing to pay more and that is my choice.
I do not see it as a “Left-Right” issue, in so much as usually the left takes the anti-corporate stance. But “truth in labeling” is not an evil left wing, or right wing issue in my humble opinion, is is an issue of consumer choice.
This rambling, slightly paranoid-sounding piece denounces regulation in the areas of vaccination and food quality yet raises the call for such vacuous concepts as “people power” and “forcing corporations to tell the truth.”
Imagine if NaturalNews were “forced to tell [somebody’s version of] the truth” by the federal government?
The whole thing, and your comments along with it, carry the whiff of hippy-dippy hemp-powered ponytailed shower-free commune committee meetings.
I don't have a problem with labeling gmo products, I don't think. I don't know exactly what would have to be covered or what further regulation and calumniation people like you would direct at the great evil corporations and for that matter at (in your eyes, perhaps) large and similarly evil family farms.
I didn't take a swipe at your writing style for no reason either. When you (or NaturalNews) are advancing an important point, I'd prefer the relevant arguments were straight, direct and clear-eyed.
Truth is, I know some Monsanto people and I know a LITTLE about what they do and I tend to trust them more than the politicians and government regulators you put your trust in.