Lies About Measure 92 – Label GMO Food NOW
It’s election season again! You are certainly seeing lawns littered with posters for candidates and signs that read “NO on this number”, and “YES on that number”. It can be really difficult to tell what is what and decide what to do about it. This year we have a measure on the ballot that has an opportunity to make a major impact on the health of the American food supply.
This is Measure 92. It is about labeling Genetically Engineered foods. Similar measures have been proposed in several states and all of them have been defeated. It’s not because they are bad measures or because the idea of labeling foods is bad. They failed because the opponents to the idea simply have more money. You may have seen their mailers which typically feature an Oregon farmer, somebody who looks just like you and me. If you Google “GMO labeling” the sponsored link will be to their website. They just have more money to throw are their campaign than the folks who proposed and support the measure. This is why I’m writing this post. I feel very strongly that this is an important measure for the state of Oregon and the whole country.
In this post I will cover the following:
- What is Measure 92 about?
- Why would you want to label Genetically Engineered foods anyway?
- What lies are being told to defeat this measure, and who is telling them?
If you haven’t guessed already I want you to vote YES on 92.
What is Measure 92 about?
The Measure would require packaged and raw foods that are sold to be labeled if they contain ingredients (1% or more by weight) that are Genetically Engineered. Currently, there is no requirement anywhere for these foods to be labeled and this needs to change because the fact is that these foods have never been confirmed to be completely safe for everyone. These foods are infiltrating our food supply and could pose a threat to your health and the health of your family. You should read the text of the proposed law. I always try to read ballot measures and most of them are just confusing gibberish, in my opinion. This initiative is clearly worded and fair in its expectations for labeling.
Why would you want to label Genetically Engineered foods anyway?
First, it is helpful to understand that a Genetically Engineered food is not simply traditional breeding that has been done for hundreds of years. It is a relatively new procedure that was invented around the early 1980’s which contradicts the natural order of species to produce hybrid foods that have unintended health and environmental impacts. The process involves introducing animal, bacterial or viral DNA into plant DNA to produce the plant or crop. This is an unnatural process that has unpredictable results and side effects. It is not the same as trying to breed one type of potato with another potato for a desired trait. It is more akin to trying to breed a potato with a dog or a chicken which is naturally impossible.
These foods have been introduced into the food supply despite the FACT that developers of these engineered strains have suppressed and hidden data that shows negative side effects in animal studies ranging from increased allergy response to infertility. You would think that this type of evidence might be enough to get foods like this pulled off shelves, however, cronyism at the highest levels of government has lead to the protection of the investments in developing these foods instead of the protection of the people they pretend to look out for. Organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are run by people who have come up through the ranks of the agriculture companies that are producing these Frankenstein food products. These organizations get a cut whenever the Drug or Ag companies make money. Can you really rely on these organizations to ALSO look out for the health of your family? Which do you think will be their highest priority: keeping the money machine running or some sick people? (HINT: It’s not the sick people).
You have to look at what has happened to American health since the early 80’s and wonder what role these genetically engineered foods have played in the rise of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, autism, infertility, infant mortality, and a host of other chronic diseases. I’m not saying that there is a direct correlation between genetically engineered foods and, say, autism but you have to look at something like this and consider what role it may have played with other factors such as medications, vaccinations, pollution, etc. We tend to want to say that there is one cause for one disease but it is far more likely that a disease or disorder arises from a combination of factors. The science suggests that genetically engineered food is one of these combining factors that is affecting human health negatively.
In light of all of this wouldn’t you like the choice to know whether you are eating food that is potentially dangerous? This measure does not ban Genetically Engineered foods, which is the case in 50 countries (hmmmm what do they know that we don’t?). The measure simply requires that the foods that have been genetically engineered are clearly identified. Currently the burden is on companies that are committed to producing non-genetically modified foods to label their foods as “non-GMO” or “Certified Organic”. But nobody is saying that these non-GMO or certified organic foods are hurting anyone. Opponents to this measure argue that this is enough. However, it’s like saying that you shouldn’t have to label rat poison as potentially dangerous, everybody else should instead advertise that their product is safe. We need to know where the potential danger lies.
If these Ag companies feel like their product is safe then they should label them with pride! But instead they think that it would harm their image if people had the right to know that their food was created in a lab.
What are the lies being told to defeat this measure and who is telling them?
Everything that you will read or be sent about defeating measure 92 will talk about the poor farmers who will be stepped on by this law. As I’m writing this I’m looking at a pamphlet I received in the mail today. It’s got an honest looking farmer in a ball cap and a button down shirt. It says that “Oregon farmers urge NO on Measure 92”. Really? Is that who is the driving force behind the opposition? Is it these poor farming families that have gathered this impressive war chest to combat this measure? The guy on the brochure is named Matt Frketich and he is a family farmer from St. Paul, OR. Let’s see if guys like him are among the top donors to the campaign to defeat the measure. The top spenders against Measure 92 (as of Oct 1)?
Monsanto at $1,584,600. They also hold most of the patents for genetically engineered foods and they sell the pesticide these plants are designed to resist (yes they are playing both sides there).
General Mills $695,000. Not a family farmer.
PepsiCo $650,000. Also not a family farmer.
So let’s be real… this is not a fight for the Oregon farming family. These corporations have not dumped all of this money into the fight because they care about Matt Frketich and his family farm. They care that Matt continue to buy their seeds and their pesticides. That is their ONLY interest in the issue. This brings us to the point that these companies also have considerable leverage with families like Matt’s. If you were to travel back in time about 100 years the most common profession was a farmer. Today only 2% of Americans are farmers or ranchers. It is a stressful business to be in and you operate at the mercy of major Ag corporations. It’s a shame they are using nice guys like Matt to do their dirty work.
Here are some of the lies being told about this labeling law:
1. Labeling will drive up the cost of food for Oregon families.
There is no good data on what this would do to the prices of food. It is an idea that the Ag corporations have virtually manufactured out of thin air. The impact on the consumer’s food prices will be negligible. No farmer is compelled to seek any sort of certification that their food is not genetically engineered. The labeling law doesn’t go into effect until 2016 by which time they will likely all have new labels anyway.
2. Labeling will put some farmers at an unfair disadvantage.
Again, if genetically engineered foods are healthy then labeling them should actually GIVE these farmers an advantage. Perhaps Monsanto, GM and Pepsi should put their money into fixing the public image of these foods they claim are so safe and healthy. They of course can’t do this because it is their own suppressed scientific studies that have demonstrated that this isn’t true. Really, if your product isn’t as healthy as another product in the same market shouldn’t you have a disadvantage because you are growing a less healthy product? I don’t see anything unfair about that. On the other hand food producers who go through the trouble to gain certifications, such as “Certified Organic”, pay for, and deserve, the advantage that comes with this designation.
3. The FDA is already working on policy about labeling GMO foods.
Their policy is really no policy at all. Their proposal is that it should be voluntary (which it currently is). That solves none of the problems that face health conscious consumers. The goal is to make it illegal for states to pass labeling laws. It is an overreach on the part of the federal government to say that we don’t have the right as Oregonians to know what is in our food. Please refer to my earlier comments about cronyism on the part of the FDA.
4. The law would invite frivolous lawsuits.
Granted… I’m not a lawyer but I know enough lawyers to know that frivolous lawsuits are filed when there is money to be gained. This measure specifically states: “The court may, in such an action, award to a citizen who is a prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action, but the court may not award any monetary damages.” No monetary damages? I don’t know… it doesn’t sound like a real money maker to me. The status quo currently is that there is no legal recourse against companies that, science is saying, may actually be causing Oregonians harm. This law, at least, will give us access to the truth about what we are eating.
5. GMO foods are safe.
This hasn’t been proven and there is actually some disconcerting evidence that would suggest they are dangerous. Consider the environmental impact. Some of these crops are being engineered to be “Round-up ready” meaning that when the pesticide Round-up (produced by Monsanto) is sprayed to kill pests it won’t also kill the plants. It has actually lead to breeds of super-resistant weeds that require the use of more Round-up. The result? US farmers have used an extra 383 million pounds of Round-up on crops we are feeding our families. Good for Monsanto! Bad for us. Also bad for the birds, amphibians, and marine ecosystems that are destroyed by these chemicals. So is it safe for the environment? NOPE.
What about people? The DNA in genetically engineered soy has been found to be transferred into the bacteria living within out bodies. These bacteria are critical for our digestion and immune systems. So these modified foods don’t just pass harmlessly through us. Animal studies have shown organ damage, accelerated aging, GI and immune disorders and other problems directly related to consumption of these foods. There is the simple fact that a number of people experience significant improvement in chronic disease, allergies and autoimmune conditions with the avoidance of GMO food alone.
6. It’s a bad law because it has been defeated in every other state that has tried to pass a similar law.
Here is a little known secret: Money is power. These other laws were defeated because the corporations that stand to lose the most have paid out enough to get the election results they want. That doesn’t mean the laws were bad.It just means that a grass-roots movement can easily be outspent to win an election. The fact is this law can pass and if it does pass it can change everything. Remember, that 50 countries have banned GMO foods. The only reason we haven’t is probably because they were developed here. Do you want some irony? Monsanto SUPPORTS LABELING GMO FOODS IN EUROPE! Why? Because it is a tactic to allow their crops to be sold there. So why not here too?
DON’T BE FOOLED!
THIS IS NOT ABOUT FARMERS.
IT IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR RIGHT TO INFORMATION AND HEALTH