A tidal wave of GMO news

WaveThe news is flooded with rising awareness: there is a battle raging on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  Some of the news is disappointing and the endless flow of funding to defeat our right to know what‘s in our food can be discouraging. But some of the news is hopeful, as we witness the relentless power and resiliency concerned consumers have. It’s important to be aware of GMO news and be educated on the ebb and flow of this battle.

As you probably have heard, Washington voters likely rejected the ballot measure I-522 that would have required mandatory labeling of GMOs in food. The final votes will not be fully tallied on this mail-in ballot measure until December 5th, and the Yes on I-522 says “For now results are too close to call”. The last official count showed a 4% margin of defeat, which is eerily close to the final defeat of proposition 37 in California. A tidal wave of money (over $22 million) was spent to defeat the measure with deceptive ads. Most of this money came from large multinational corporations invested in chemical production and patenting GMO seeds. Only $550 in contributions to defeat the measure came from individuals residing in the state of Washington. The major contributors were Monsanto, Dupont, Nestle and Coca-Cola through the GMA. You can read more on the campaign on the Huffington Post.

The food labeling tsunami in Washington isn’t over yet. On October 16th, the Washington State’s Attorney General, Bob Fergusson, filed a lawsuit against the GMA, alleging it violated the state’s campaign disclosure laws by spending more than $7 million while concealing the identity of contributors.

As more information pours in from Washington State, there is a new swell emerging just south in the State of Oregon. Advocates of GMO labeling are pushing for an Oregon ballot measure in 2014 despite the flood of endless money available to defeat such a measure. According to the Center for Food Safety, “nearly half of all U.S. states have introduced bills requiring labeling or prohibiting genetically engineered foods.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, two city councilmen have introduced a motion that would ban the growth, sale and distribution of genetically engineered seeds and plants. The measure is mostly symbolic and meant to protect local gardens and homegrown food from contamination by genetically modified seeds. The motion would not affect the sale of food containing genetically modified ingredients.

The manufactured foods contingent has bigger plans to wipe out these state initiatives at the federal level. Last week, confidential documents were leaked on the GMA’s intention to “pursue statutory federal preemption which does not include a labeling requirement.” This would effectively outlaw any states from enacting ANY GMO labeling laws. You can view the documents here with many portions being redacted from Eat Drink Politics. A full commentary on this secret plan is available from Food Safety News.

The comment period has opened to allow full production of the GMO Artic Apple in the US. This is the first genetically engineered apple with an application pending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would prevent browning once sliced. Read more in my blog, “Let’s give Eve a better apple?” The good news is McDonald’s and Gerber announced they do not plan to sell or use the Arctic Apple. The statements came as a reply to a request from the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Thank you, Friends of the Earth, for helping to prevent our children’s exposure to this untested science experiment.

The Organic Trade Association is taking the lead on voluntary labeling. Laura Batcha, OTA’s Executive Vice President and Interim Co-Executive Director, met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff to discuss the FDA’s goal to release final guidance for the industry on voluntarily making claims indicating whether foods have been produced with or without using GMOs. Publishing final guidance has been identified in FDA’s Program Priorities (Goal 4.1.11) for 2013-2014. The draft guidance was released in 2001. Visit OTA’s News and Views webpage to learn about OTA’s Position on GMOs.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “A pre-eminent U.N. and World Bank assessment concluded that GE crops have very little potential to alleviate poverty and hunger.” GE seed patents have, since 1995, led to a 325% spike in soybean prices and a 516% jump in cotton, at the same time forcing farmers to pay for more pesticides. You can read the full article here.

The Just Label it Campaign is working to deliver signatures to the FDA to enact mandatory federal labeling. They have currently delivered more than 1.3 million signatures and need your support. They have some telling statistics on their website. The Center for Food Safety has a similar petition for President Obama telling him that now is the time to bring GMO labeling to the whole country. You can sign the petition here. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and the USDA’s Economic Research Service, 5 countries grow 90% of the world’s GMO foods and more than 60 countries have GMO labeling. The US is one of those 5 countries and is not included in the 60+ with labeling laws.

More than 90% of Americans want labeling of GMO foods. Now is the time to ride the wave of sentiment and create transparent national labeling of GMOs in our food supply. Tell me how you are contributing to the groundswell.

5 thoughts on “A tidal wave of GMO news

  1. I like those words “Tidal Wave” in the sense of meaning good.     Thank you Melody for the email to Jessica.   I will be in touch with her next week.

    Guy CameronROGUE ORGANICS Seed, Garden and Farm Supplycell-541-237-4959  “The Earth, It’s People, The Environment”

  2. Forget about Monsanto and the et als.!

    My Good Food Friends –

    If the Organic Industry spent half as much time as it does, moanin’, whinin’, cyrin’ and complainin’ about what the non-organic boys and girls are doin’, and instead, spent that time on TELLING its OWN STORY and SELLING an up-with-life feeling, Organics would probably be further down the road than its current, and rather paltry, 4.2% Market Share!

    If time, energy and resources were spent, and FOCUSED, on MAKING Organic Good Food the just-got-to-have, the go-to, the FIRST CHOICE, THE FASHION, and hitting the holy grail of COOL, the non-organic stuff would just simply disappear from a lack of consumer interest.

    The ‘Law of Attraction’ states you move towards that which you want to become, a message more compelling than moving away from that which to avoid.

    My concern, is that after 25 years, Organic Good Food is ONLY 4.2% POPULAR. THAT’S worse than Congress’ popularity!

    After 25 years, only a 4.2% market share? WHY?

    Does the Organic Industry need a change in its public appearances? YES!

    Consider this: In Europe, and in a lot of other Countries, GMOS are for the most part, banned, shunned, not-allowed or labeled, and Organics are STILL a niche player!

    As I think about the future of Organic Good Food, the reason Organics only have a niche Market Share, is because THE INDUSTRY, as a whole, has been telling virtually the same old story the entire time. The general public perceives the Organic Industry, and its Spokespeople, to always seem to be against something, always angry, anti-this, anti-that, never seem to just be HAPPY.

    The Organic Industry tends to have an arrogant, above-it-all, humorless, elitist, a stern dietician’s we-know-what’s-better-for-you stance.

    Many in the Organic Industry have called or written me, saying a better narrative is needed. I couldn’t agree more.

    Think about this. In 1996, there were more Organic Seeds than GMO seeds. NOW, the reverse is true. WHY? Monsanto et al. simply told a more compelling STORY to Farmers, to Regulatory Agencies, to Politicians, to Reporters, News Agencies, Retailers and Mainstream Consumers. They spent their time, energies and resources talking about THEMSELVES and SELLING!

    The Organic Industry is always fighting something, forcing its customers to be involved in a movement, to be issues oriented, to have to ‘take sides’, to consider their food purchase to be a political statement, when all the average consumer wants is to simply make a choice that reflects to them a positive, happy, trouble-free lifestyle in this World of trouble all ‘round. The general public feels overwhelmed and is tired of being lectured and warned of yet another imminent crisis.

    Organics should just let shoppers be happy BUYERS. No strings attached. Don’t involve them in politics or the issue of the moment. Just ask them to SPEND their money on YOUR Organic Good Food for their own GOOD HEALTH & HAPPINESS … and nothing else. Just let them ENJOY their Organic Good Food Choices.

    The Organic ‘Choir’ is so convinced and so enamored with the ‘purity’ of its own product that SELLING it seems to be almost beneath them. But SELLING shouldn’t be, as our very lives depend upon a dramatic GROWTH and rapid EXPANSION of Market Share of wholesome, healthful, life-giving Organic Good FOOD.

    Sometimes it seems that the purpose for Organics is that it’s grown ‘organically’, that it protects the environment. The Organic Industry always tries to tell what Organics don’t do, rather than SELLING what they WILL DO … to, and for, THE CONSUMER! The eater can’t see that the purchase of an Organic Celery cleans a river. But, upon one sip of BAINBRIDGE DISTILLER’S Organic Battle Point Whiskey, they’ll KNOW what GOOD Organics can DO FOR THEM! Oh, YEAH!

    So, get off your tractors, shine your shoes, get dressed, comb your hair and become relevant.

    The Organic Industry has to get over itself, get its hands out of the good soil and its head out of the clouds and take some lessons from those companies that KNOW HOW TO SELL LOTS OF STUFF: Budweiser®, Apple®, Coke®. There is nothing inherently wrong with SELLING. There is no dishonor in SELLING Organic Good Food, after all, Organic Good FOOD is the only TRUE FOOD left for us to thrive on, FOOD that’s GOOD for PEOPLE. So SELLING MORE OF IT to every Man, Woman and Child is an HONORABLE endeavor.

    Put some FUN in The Organic Good Food STORY! FUN is hard to ignore. Show some CHEERINESS and HAPPINESS, ‘cause that’s where everyone WANTS to be, NOT over there in a harsh, limited little world with LESS CHEER, LESS HAPPINESS & LESS FUN.

    Organic activists write Manifestos! So did the Communists.

    Where’s our FUN, SEX and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL?

    Where’s our LIVIN’ THE GOOD FOOD LIFE?

    Where’s the picture of a FUN young couple cresting a wave in a Ski-Doo® with a bottle of WOLAVER’S® Organic Beer and a bag of LATE JULY® Organic Chips!

    Organic Good Foods ARE the HEALTHY HIGH!

    Everyone wants to be over there on the happy side, the Capt’n Morgan® side, the MILLER® Lite side, and not over there with the angry nutritionists, the food police gang and ‘protesters’! The Organic Industry’s rather dour Story has handicapped its Market Share.

    Another example of EFFECTIVE MARKETING, and this one is as old as the hills, but ever so relevant: In every blind taste-test, Pepsi® ALWAYS beats Coke®, but Coke® outsells Pepsi® by miles! Why? It’s ALL in the MARKETING, the SELLING, the IMAGE! So now, think about THIS: Organic Good Food ALWAYS TASTES BETTER than its laboratory concocted, synthesized, chemicalized non-organic imitator. So, why only the 4.2% Market Share? Wrong image!

    Even now, in 2012, because of Organics’ dreary image, counter-culture and life-style of denial, I have to open the LIVE Change Your Food – Change Your Life! Shows with a take-away: “I don’t live in a commune, I don’t wear tie-dye, I can’t spell Birkenstock and I don’t eat granola!” I have to assure them, life’s to LIVE! And the audience goes, “Whew! We’re safe with this guy!’

    Position Organic Good Foods as HIP, HEALTHY, TASTY, COOL and RELEVANT! ALWAYS. PERIOD!

    After all, Organic Good Food is the LIFE of the party!

    I’m deluged with e-mail messages from food activists demanding that I “Tell Congress to …”, ”Stop Congress from …”, “Sign THIS Petition”, “‘Just LABEL It!’”, “We need your money to …“, “OPPOSE … “, “Join our struggle AGAINST … “, Tell The FDA …”, “Tell the USDA …”, “Call my Senator” and on and on and on, never-ending. But all I ever get from Kellogg’s®, McDonalds, Coke® and Budweiser® is “The Start of Possible”, “i’m lovin’ it®”, “open happiness™”, “Great Times are Waiting: GRAB SOME BUDS”, and “Everything POPS with PRINGLES™”. They never ask me to do anything other than BUY their stuff … and with a smile!

    Budweiser® doesn’t show you their hops. They just take you to somewhere they know you just kinda want to be. Organics INSIST on proving up the value of its hops via PowerPoint, but then never ends up taking anyone anywhere.

    Apple® makes people line up around the block for something they don’t really need and the Organic Industry can’t even get enough people to buy enough Organic Carrots to actually make a healthful difference in their lives!

    Organic family feuds distract from Market Growth. Boycotts, recriminations, rock throwing and name calling CONFUSES the consumer and limits growth. If The Organic Consumers Association, Cornucopia Institute, The Organic Trade Association, Food & Water Watch, The Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now, Institute for Responsible Technology and other KEY players were ever to all get together, decide upon a message and get on the same page, Organics would be propelled to its rightful place in the market – THE MAJORITY SHARE!

    Create the FUSION of FOOD, FUN and FASHION. SHOW, TELL and SELL what GOOD LIVIN’ looks like, sounds like, tastes and FEELS.

    Grocery Stores have Cheese Specialists, Meat Specialists, Seafood Specialists and Wine Stewards. They even have ‘a produce guy’. WHERE’S the Organic Expert?

    TELL & SELL what simply makes the consumer FEEL GOOD when making the purchase, ‘cause I KNOW the eater is going to feel REAL GOOD after ENJOYING their Organic Good Food!

    And way back in 1944, songwriter Johnny Mercer got it RIGHT in the song
    Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive:

    “You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In Between

    You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium
    Liable to walk upon the scene

    Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
    What did they do
    Just when everything looked so dark

    Man, they said we better
    Accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
    No, do not mess with Mister In-Between
    Do you hear me, hmm?

    Oh, listen to me and-a you will hear
    About the elininatin’ of the negative
    And the accent on the positive
    And gather ’round me if you’re willin’
    And sit tight while I start reviewin’
    The attitude of doin’ right

    You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In Between”

    To Your Health!
    Dennis L. Weaver, MBA, GFG
    Founder
    Change Your Food – Change Your Life!™
    425.774.8971
    http://www.ChangeYourFood.com
    http://www.OrganicJazz.net
    – & –
    National Columnist/Opinion Piece Writer
    On the HOME Front Page
    http://www.Specialty-Retailing.com

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