(NaturalHealth365) Thank goodness the American public has a Congressional panel to save it from itself. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from a recent hearing held by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.
Are Americans ‘too ignorant’ for food safety?
The topic was proposed GMO labeling laws that would inform consumers whether or not the food they were buying was created by genetic engineering. The July 9 hearing appeared largely dominated by the interests of large agribusiness conglomerates that stand to gain by a robust market for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) product. Those in favor of GMO technology are concerned that labeling will cause consumers to steer clear of the products.
The conclusion of the committee members and witnesses became clear: the American public is ‘too ignorant’ and uneducated to be provided with information about the food they are feeding their families.
Sad, but true: Politicians think GMO labeling would be too ‘confusing’ for Americans
Apparently, U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) finds labeling of organic food enough information for American consumers. “Why do we need another labeling deal, or whatever, if we already have organic?” he asked of David Just, professor at Cornell University and co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.
Dr. Just’s reply was illustrative of the wide majority of opinion expressed at the hearing. “I don’t know specifically that we do,” he told committee members. “I really worry that the labeling does more harm than good…that it leads too many people away from it and that it diminishes the market for GMOs, that are the solution to a lot of the problems that we face.”
The hazards of GM food go way beyond health concerns
It’s believed that many consumers are concerned about ingesting GMOs because they fear the safety of the food itself, a hurdle the GMO proponents believe will be magnified by labeling laws. Health and safety of GMO products aside, many GMO opponents say they have other serious concerns about the overall impact of genetically engineered food on the country’s consumers, yet none of these issues were examined at the committee hearing.
Just as bacteria has grown resistant to antibiotics over the years, those concerned about GMOs worry that the genetic engineering of crops will result in the growth of so-called “super weeds” that are resistant to pesticides.
Also of concern is the lack of diversity in cropping, which could lead to over-reliance on single-crop factory farming and decreased biodiversity. Still others point to a lack of a consistent approval process for GMO products.
Looks like the federal government wants to keep GMOs a secret
And if you think you can rely on your own state to protect your interests, think again. While the fight over GMOs, and labeling in particular, has been smoldering for years, the issue threatens to come to a head again on Capitol Hill with a bill that would prevent states from enacting laws to require GMO labeling. It would also allow GMOs to be labeled as 100 percent natural. The legislation could be scheduled for mark up as early as September.
Among the few opposing voices to push back on the Hill during the hearing were Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who backs labeling, as well as Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, who publicly stated following the hearing that he believes consumers have a right to know what’s in their food and to decide what they want to eat and support. Greenfield’s ice cream business is headquartered in Vermont, where a law requiring GMO labeling was recently enacted.