In Part 2 of this 4-Part Series, guest blogger Jennifer Slattery (read Part 1 here) delves into Monsanto's objections to the labelling of genetically modified foods. Some have suggested this has less to do with fear of consumer reprisal, and more to do with ensuring any adverse health effects are not traceable back to them, with all the legal liability that comes with it.
Monsanto's explanation for why we cannot have our food properly labelled, according to their website's article What’s the Problem with Labeling Genetically-Modified (GM/GMO) Foods? is insulting to say the least:
"Mandatory labeling of food containing GM ingredients might seem like a no-brainer. However, once you consider the facts, it becomes clear there is no sense in mandatory GMO labeling."
Is it clear to you? Me neither. This statement contains the logical fallacy of presenting the company's self-serving opinion as if it were a fact. Saying unequivocally that "once you consider the facts, it becomes clear there is no sense in mandatory GMO labeling" is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who reads it. We want to know what is in our food, whether it's harmful or not. So what "facts" could possibly change our opinion that knowledge of exactly what we are putting in our bodies is worth having?
Frankencorn, courtesy of Kevin McCarthy
"A better question might be: What would be the benefits of labeling products containing GM ingredients? Individuals who make a personal decision not to consume food containing GM ingredients can easily avoid such products. In the U.S., they can purchase products that are certified as organic under the National Organic Program. They can also buy products which companies have voluntarily labeled as not containing GM ingredients. The law allows for voluntary labeling so long as the information is accurate, truthful and avoids misleading consumers about the food. Monsanto supports both options."
A: YOU DON'T ALLOW PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD YOU SELL THEM. This extends to the GM crops used to feed cattle, and the bovine growth hormone, etc, which are then delivered to us in the meat we buy and eat. Most people are unaware of this because there are no laws requiring a GM label. You therefore do not support consumers making an informed decision. Pointing out that other companies do have a conscience does not excuse your lack of one.
B: The USDA NOP regulations clearly state: "…the national organic standards, including provisions governing prohibited substances, are based on the method of production, not the content of the product."
Which means there is no testing done to assure food is not GMO contaminated. There is also no zero tolerance policy in cases that contamination is found by reviewing production methods. So in effect there is no way for people to be sure that the food they buy, regardless of an organic label. It's essentially DADT for organic labeling, isn't that great?
The public is more than fed up with being told they don’t have a right to choose non-GM food. We are demanding truth in labeling, especially in light of the recent announcement by Whole Foods, and a cadre of other supposedly healthy shopping destinations, that they no longer oppose Genetically Modified products:
“Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops,...”
Why would the stores that make their bread and butter off of overcharging customers who specifically spend the extra cash for organic, clean food make such a decision?
"According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack's previous electoral campaigns. Vilsack was hailed as "Governor of the Year" in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail."
Where are our choices? Where is the line between corporate greed and government regulation? Obviously there is none:
That's not a "free market" by any definition. If there was no difference between GM food and Non, then there would be no need to fear your products being labeled openly Monsanto. In fact, if everything you say about your products is true you should be proudly demanding that your product be labeled so the world can choose what you have made.
Coming up next in Part 3: dispelling the myth that GM crops will end world hunger.