(NaturalHealth365) Knowing just what, exactly, comprises the food we take into our bodies every day – it seems so little to ask. Yet the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), apparently, doesn’t agree; when it comes to GMO’s in food, this organization would prefer a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Food producers within the GMA have spent over $100 million to stop the regulation of junk food, oppose education about healthy eating, and vehemently fight against labeling food products made with GMO’s, or genetically modified organisms.
93% of Americans support GMO labeling
The GMA policy is diametrically opposed to the will of the American people, the vast majority of whom want GMO’s labeled. In fact, a New York Times poll conducted in January of 2013 indicated that the number of people in favor of labeling stands at an overwhelming 93 percent – a virtual mandate. In addition, more than a million people have signed a petition asking the Food and Drug Administration to label GMO’s.
The state of Vermont takes the lead
Now, the state of Vermont has taken an unequivocal stand – the “Green Mountain State” lived up to its name on May 8, 2014, when governor Peter Shumlin signed into law a bill requiring that foods with GMO’s be labeled. The bill, which would affect all foods sold within the state’s borders, also forbids labeling foods made with GMO’s as “natural.”
Technically speaking, Vermont was not the first state to craft such a law. In 2013, Connecticut and Maine both passed similar bills. However, the legislation currently lacks clout, for the simple reason that the bills contain “trigger” clauses declaring that the laws of both states can’t take effect unless neighboring states pass similar bills.
Before the ink was dry, the GMA fought back
Within 24 hours of Governor Shumlin signing the bill, the GMA announced their intention to sue the state of Vermont in an effort to overturn the bill. Expecting just such a reaction, Vermont had established a defense fund in advance; in a groundswell of support, other states are contributing as well.
The GMA spent $60 million defeating both Proposition 37 – the labeling initiative in California – and Initiative 522, a similar bill in Washington. However, the growing grassroots support for labeling is paying off – 29 states have 84 bills on food labeling in the works, with two labeling bills before Congress as well.
And Oregon may be close to passing a labeling bill too. If organizers can obtain 87,000 signatures by July 3rd, 2014, the bill will be placed before voters on the November ballot.
The GMA has deep pockets and powerful friends
Among the GMA’s top donors are such giants as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Smucker’s, who have certainly done their share to pour sugar, preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup into Americans. Monsanto, another GMA member, supplies GM seed, which accounts for 80 percent of the corn and 93 percent of the soybeans grown in the United States.
We lag behind Europe in passing labeling initiatives.
The entire European Union has already ordered that GMO’s be labeled. This is in stark contrast to the policy in the United States, in which food manufacturers have no obligation to label GMO products. Even more disturbingly, Kansas state representative Mike Pompeo has introduced the misleadingly-named “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” which would effectively block states from requiring mandatory GMO food labeling.
This is not about the possible dangers of GMO’s – it’s about the right to know what’s in our food.
The controversy over GMO’s continues to rage, with such conventional authorities as the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization insisting that GMO’s are safe; conversely, natural food experts, alternative medicine proponents and a huge swath of the American public appear to harbor serious doubts.
Help put a stop to GMA bullying
Food Revolution Network, an online initiative dedicated to the goal of healthy, sustainable food for all people, is currently calling for a petition and boycott of Coca-Cola products, and asking that the soft drink corporation stop funding efforts to torpedo GMO labeling. By visiting their webpage, you can find out how to officially join the Coke boycott, tell Smucker’s to stop blocking food labeling, make a contribution to Vermont’s legal defense fund, and take other constructive actions.
Regardless of the merits or drawbacks of GMO’s, people should be allowed to know when they are eating them. It’s time to send a message to the GMA; it’s time that they backed off and let the truth about our food be known.
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