This is the month where there are two more state ballot initiatives for GMO labels in Oregon and Colorado. Measure 92 in Oregon and Measure 105 in Colorado ask the public if they want their foods labeled with a notice that the product has been genetically engineered or modified. These two states would be the first states to enact this referendum, as California and Washington failed in their attempts for GMO labeling in the last election cycles of 2013 and 2012.
In one state, Vermont, the lawmakers passed a piece of legislature that required GMO labeling. However, as with many pieces of legislature, it is currently stuck in court as the agricultural giants have poured millions into the legal process. In Oregon and Colorado, those same agricultural giants have spent millions toward defeating the initiatives. Why? Because if just one state passes the initiative, then the food companies would be required to place the notice on all products, as they can’t determine which product goes to which state. If one state wins, we all win.
The agricultural giants (like Monsanto, Kraft Foods Group, Kellogg, The Hershey Company and even Coca-Cola and Pepsico) have poured 12 million dollars into its fight in Colorado versus $700,000 raised by the pro-labeling public forces like organic farmers and pro-nutrition groups. In Oregon the cost has gone even higher, topping 16 million. In both states, as it was in California and Washington, it is like David versus Goliath. “May the odds be forever in your favor” is not a statement for concerned citizens in this real life hunger game.
In 2008 there was a study by the National Academy of Sciences that found no health problems associated with GMOs. However, that study was funded by the agricultural giants. In fact, our National Academy of Sciences and many of our governmental organizations (included most members of Congress) are funded by the agricultural giants. Independent scientists who have produced studies with vastly different results, showing the organ damage from GMO, but they have been prosecuted, sued, and forced aside from prestigious positions.
If you think this battle does not impact you, well … you are burying your head in the sand. GMOs are now found in a great majority of our staple crops, such as corn and soybeans. Those two items are used in a vast number of items on our grocery-stores shelves. Recent studies, taken from human blood samples, have shown that the majority of Americans already have GMOs in their blood. Most umbilical cords have GMOs. As a mother, are you willing for your baby to take that risk? Don’t Americans have enough developmental disorders in our children?
The agricultural giants have one winning card in their deck. It is the card that was played so successfully in their California close-call victory. GMO labeling will make those foods more expensive because the process of labeling itself makes food more expensive. But Americans seem to forget that we pay less per capital for our food than any other industrial country, but we pay more for our health care costs than any industrial country. Americans don’t seem to get it. Poor, cheap, contaminated foods lead to later illnesses. You can save pennies today, but you will spend many thousands of dollars tomorrow. My recommendation is simple. Pay the farmer, not the doctor.
With these ballot initiatives, I am disappointed with all of the misinformation. Somehow it has become “okay” to lie. But I also feel deprived, as the ballot initiatives are too limited. They do not include eggs, meat, and other dairy products. These items all contain GMOs, but the GMOs were not placed directly into them. Take meat, for example. With the large agricultural giants, the cattle are not grass fed; they are grain fed. That grain is genetically modified; it is ingested by their cattle; and their cattle develop diseases from the GMO grain. But since it was not directly injected into the meat, those items are excluded.
Perhaps you do not have an understanding of how a GMO in corn works. Each GMO corn kernel is genetically programed to release a pesticide if an insect bites into it. Of course, the released pesticide immediately kills the insect. Now, the agricultural giants claim that when the cattle eat that same piece of corn, nothing happens. That pesticide is (somehow?) not released into their stomach. If that is the case, then why do cattle show GMO blood levels? Who do humans show GMO blood levels? If you want a good pesticide, you do not have to go a gardening store. Just look in the mirror. And smile.
Here is my own predicament. I love corn but I do not eat any corn or anything with a corn product as an ingredient. I just do not want GMOs in my blood stream. For me, that translates to eating fewer eggs, less dairy products, and limited meat. For me, that also translates into eating more organic food, including more vegetables, more fruit, more nuts, and more seeds. However, there is an upside. I have never been healthier. So, regardless of who wins or loses these ballot initiatives, make yourself a winner. Steer clear of GMOs. Watch your diet with or without the labeling. And, most importantly, spend a little more money on what you eat. It will translate into better health and lower medical bills.