If you are what you eat…but you don’t know what you eat…do you know who you are? If you excuse my poor attempt at Shakespeare/Socrates, we uncover a big problem among Americans today. “How did I get to be this big?” we wonder. Or “How did that cancer spread so fast?” We are so misguided in our nutrition that we repeatedly find ourselves dumbfounded by our own health.
Well its time we stop blindly feeding ourselves, and examining what we are really putting in our bodies. The voices across America to know what’s in our food are getting LOUDER and LOUDER. They have gotten so loud that in the past year, 36 bills dealing with the labeling of genetically engineered foods have been introduced in Vermont, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.
Genetically engineered foods sounds very confusing at first glance but they are simply foods containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms). In more simpler terms :), a scientist had a hand in producing your food and it didn’t just come from Farmer Dan. TLC’s list of top ten GM foods are – Cotton, Tomatoes, Papaya, Rice, Potatoes, Corn, Soy, Milk, Canola Oil, and Aspartame. And that’s why I am happily Paleo which makes it a lot easier to avoid GM foods.
Sounds like progress right? Well…
In Vermont, their Legislature considered a bill that would have required labels on GMO food products. After overwhelming support from constituents and a majority approval in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, agriculture giant Monsanto stepped in and threatened to sue the state. Their strong arming worked and Vermont backed down.
This was not the first time Vermont and Monsanto went to battle in the courts. In 1994 Monsanto successfully sued Vermont in Federal Court after they tried to require mandatory labels on milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone. The judge decided that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH – even though rBGH has been linked to severe health damage in cows and increased cancer risk for humans, and is banned in much of the industrialized world, including Europe and Canada.
You can see why Vermont legislators are hesitant to lead the way again this time around.
But that isn’t stopping Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.). He decided it’s time to fight back against Monsanto and get federal regulation of GMO labeling, thus protecting each state from lawsuits. On Thursday, June 21st, 2012, that vote went before the Senate.
In a 73 to 26 vote, the Senate rejected the amendment to let states require clear labels on any food or beverage containing genetically engineered ingredients. This was the first time a bill to label GMO food was introduced onto the Senate floor. It would have been a part of the Farm Bill that was passed in the Senate and is currently about to go before the House.
Who’s Against It?
While many many many taxpayers are supporting GMO labeling and making their voices heard, it’s apparently not loud enough over the voice of Monsanto. Not surprisingly, all the giant food companies were also against this amendment. I refuse to ever invest one cent into the stocks of Monsanto or ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) or Kraft or Nestle, etc. The same way I refuse to invest in Phillip Morris or Lorillard because they sell cancer sticks to people. If you haven’t seen the similarities between big tobacco and big Ag yet, I am still confident you will in this lifetime.
It’s Just Labeling!
Why is it so bad that we know what’s in our food? Do we not have the right to know what we are ingesting?
This really scares me when I think about our kids and the foods that are made specifically for them. Almost every baby formula on the market is made from GM soy. Just take a look at all the grocery products made with high fructose corn syrup. I’m being a sarcastic ass here but chances are it was made from GM corn and NOT the same corn that was shared at the first Thanksgiving. (P.S. “Paleo haters” stop saying corn or bread is natural, its not even close to the same stuff it was 200 years ago.)
This debate makes me think about Allen Iverson…
“We talking bout practice. Not a game. Practice.” -Allen Iverson, former Philadelphia 76ers player. (Link to Video of Iverson remixed by DJ Steve Porter)
“We talking bout labeling. Not an altering of their products. Labeling.” – Tony Frezza, ridiculously awesome health/fitness blogger.
Why is something so simple as a label so bad?
Because people will ask questions. Food corporations are scared that it will actually bring some sort of consciousness to the food buying process.
I think this quote is from around the 1994 lawsuits, but one Monsanto executive said that GMO labeling is equal to putting a “skull and crossbones” on food packaging.
Its my opinion that if genetic modification of our foods is so safe then this comparison should not even arise.
So this GM stuff is bad?
The Food companies will say there is nothing wrong GM foods. If you would like to learn different, please watch Food, Inc. or Foodmatters. These companies use the same bias studies tobacco companies used to prove their products were safe over and over. They point to the fact that there is no controlled, long-term study done on humans to show GM foods are unsafe. Umm…yes there is. It’s called LIFE!!!
Just look around! Ever since the introduction of these foods in 1996 the percentage of Americans with three of more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years! We also have cancers growing in our bodies like crazy, everyone in the country is allergic to something, 1 out of every 88 kids born have autism (up 78% since 2002!) (even worse for boys with 1 out of every 54), infertility is becoming an ever growing problem, and on and on…
Not to mention the harm that GM foods do to our environment. It AMAZES me when I hear a vegetarian vilifying grass-fed cows or free range chickens but at the same time will tout the environmental friendliness of crops. These GM crops are bred to be immune against herbicides and insecticides, which means the crops can be showered with this stuff and not die. That doesn’t mean it can’t harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. Ten acres of GM corn does so much more pollution and degradation to the land then ten acres of roaming cows do. Read The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability if you’d like to hear about the real destruction of the diet. The food documentaries mentioned above are also great at exposing Monsanto’s damage to our environment and planet.
U.S.A is COMPLETELY Behind the Curve on this one
49 Countries require GMO labeling of food products. The U.S. and Canada are the only ones out of the largest, wealthiest nations in the world to not require it. I know the U.S. sucks. What’s up Canada?
Wondering why our country sucks at protecting consumers when it comes to agriculture and nutrition? This graphic should help shine some light on the problem. Our government continually hires former Monsanto employees.
3 Things You Can Do Right Now
Go to justlabelit.org and tell the FDA to label GMO Foods. While you are there, check out some of the other resources they offer to help keep the movement going.
2. Vote with Your Dough
We can talk all we want, but money speaks louder than words. Bring consciousness into the food purchasing process, especially if you are buying foods for children who are too young and uninformed to make the correct decisions. Buy locally grown or free-ranging, wild foods as much as possible. Try to purchase products without labels. If it has a label then read it’s ingredients carefully. Be mindful of what you buy at the store.
3. Bitch Slap Your Senator
Please take two minutes out of your day to virtually bitch slap your Senator for not making sure GMO labeling passed. The people that are paid to represent us should be listening to us.
Sen. Nelson and Sen. Rubio of Florida will be getting some scathing letters from me today since they both said NAY to the amendment. Only ONE measly Republican from Arkansas said Yea to it.
Please see how YOUR State Senator voted HERE and contact them immediately.
By the way, I thought Sen. Bernie did a tremendous job pushing this amendment. Please share his video of his speech on the Senate floor.