Never before in the history of mankind have we had so many food related illnesses. Our eating habits are causing obesity, diabetes and allergies in droves of the population. The big food companies are selling us food that is highly processed, filled with sugar, fats and increasing hidden components such as genetically modified organisms. Recognizing the dangers of food related illnesses we have gained the right to have labels indicating calorific content, sugar, sodium and fat. What is notably lacking in the U.S. is that the GMO ingredients have eluded the label.
Over 60 countries require mandatory labeling of GMO foods. In countries where labeling is required the public recognizes the lack of peer based science and research on GMOs and they choose not to purchase those products. As a result there is virtually no market when products are labeled with GMOs. The big AG companies cannot gain a foothold in those markets where labeling is required. Thus they fight surreptitiously by influencing our policy makers to deny the label in our markets. Call it manipulation or protectionism, it is a form of control that denies us real choices in our food.
Polls show that over 92% of the U.S. population are concerned and want to know if they are eating a GMO product. True government is a result of the voice of the people influencing change not the result of multinationals buying the vote of policy makers. The voice of the people may finally be creating a revolution of change in the policy of food labeling. Some policy makers are listening.
In the last week of April, Senator Boxer and Congressman DeFazio introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label genetically engineered foods so that consumers can make informed choices about what they eat. The bill was introduced with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. You can read the text of the SENATE BILL and the HOUSE BILL thanks to the Center for Food Safety.
The bill has an arduous uphill battle and some give it a prognosis of 3% chance of getting past committee and 0% chance of being enacted. Just for a historical perspective between 2011 and 2013 only 11% of all House bills have made it past committee and only 3% actually enacted. Not a great track record of outcomes and deliverables…but that’s another blog.
So with over 22 states in the midst of creating their own mandatory labeling laws the momentum seems to be rising. My company UNFI and many others have rung the social media bell and are getting the word out on this important piece of legislation. If you feel passionate about this issue it’s important to let your Congressional representatives know. Don’t let corporate purse strings manipulate our right to have transparent labeling on our food. Call your representatives, write your representatives and tell them what you want. It really can be your government at work for you if you speak up. Then pass it on.