Label GMOs: We Need To Know What Foods Contain Them!

Since the 1990s, many concerned consumers have asked the FDA, the USDA, our legislators and the courts to label foods that contained genetically modified organisms.  They haven’t done so.  It’s time for Californians (and other states) to vote on labeling genetically engineered foods. Care about the future of your family’s food? We need YOU to join up to make informed consumer choice the law! The grassroots movement for an initiative for the 2012 ballot in California to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods has taken off. This needs to be done in every state.

What is happening in California?
Meetings for activists are being held, so they can learn about the initiative, suggestions on how to get active in your community and organizing into a new cohesive group. Folks will be asked to think about committees they would like to be on; helping to get the message out to as many people as possible. Guest speaker, Pamm Larry, founder of labelGMOs.org, will be giving an update on the current situation and the proposed California ballot initiative to require mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms in our foods. Visit www.labelgmos.org to find out more about gatherings.

What Kind of Viruses and Bacteria have been Injected Into Our Foods? Why are scientists taking genes from one species and are then injecting them into another species? For example, injecting genes from a pig into a tomato plant. There are many religious people who would not relish this idea – and there is independent data that suggests health risks from some of these foreign genes, which come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Corn is another example, of a plant injected with bacteria and the bovine species which is being fed this GM corn have encountered a variety of health problems. In my December 8, 2010 blog GMOs: How They Impact The Planet and You I covered some of them. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has warned that the public should avoid genetically modified (GM) foods stating “There is more than just a casual association between GM foods and adverse health affects. There is causation.”

Our government has only relied on studies that have been done by the people who are promoting these GM foods. No government research is being done,. Our government can make declarations, such as, “There is no known danger as far as GM foods are concerned.” They have permitted an industry that is promoting them to do the research that has proclaimed them safe. It is interesting that more than 30 other countries require mandatory labeling, because their citizens demanded it. We have that same power to find out and we are waking up to the knowledge that we , as U.S. consumers and citizens, can demand labeling of GMO foods here, too. We can join with farmers, parents, scientists, doctors and food activists all over the world who are demanding consumer rights to informed choice over corporate rights to a non-transparent profit.

Why do an initiative instead of a bill in the state legislature? Federal labeling legislation has been before Congress since 1999. GMO labeling legislation has been tried a number of times in CA. However, it either never makes it to committee or doesn’t get out of it. The most recent example is AB88, it could not get out of the Appropriations Committee in May 2011 and has been pushed back to January 2012. And that was just for fish. Fourteen other states have bills before their legislatures and are going nowhere. While we will continue to work on and fully support legislative efforts, it is our observation and opinion that we don’t have the time to wait for our governing bodies to enact GMO labeling.

What’s the rush? New studies point to increased health risks. Numerous vegetables, fruits and animal products are being developed and considered for approval. We are concerned with the recent deregulation of the high cross pollinator, alfalfa. We want to do all we can to ensure our children have the option of organic dairy and meats.

If you are concerned about this issue – SPREAD THE WORD. Tell friends, co-workers, groups, organizations, churches, etc. Join the Facebook page via their sitewww.labelgmos.org and get the word out around the world. This may be a California initiative but what is happening here will impact the whole country. This is a people-powered movement that is growing because of its connections.

Join the team. Help to build it by sharing your expertise. Visit the site to see what they want to create and if you see yourself wanting to contribute – let us know if you have needed skills which haven’t identified yet. This is a grassroots movement and everyone’s support is needed. Let’s not forget that initiatives are very expensive and those who want to see the labeling vote fail have tremendous resources to try and silence those who are aware of how important this initiative is – these GMO crops could wipe out our food supply. Please donate Time and/or Money towww.ResponsibleTechnology.org and/or www.labelgmos.org

10 REASONS WHY WE DON’T NEED GM FOODS:

1) GM Foods won’t solve the food crisis
A 2008 world bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) – while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods.

“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry.” Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent.

Professor Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales: “The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on the public agenda. I understand why they are doing it, but the danger is that if they are making claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world that’s B,S.”

2) GM crops do not increase yield potential
Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialized crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields. A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer-reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 20 years of research, and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has significantly failed at increasing US crop yields. The author, former US EPA and US FDA biotech specialist Dr. Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.” Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman also added, “Let’s be clear. As of this year (2008), there are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil, Not one.”

3) GM crops increase pesticide use
US government data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.   “The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true,” Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition.

4) There are better ways to feed the world
A major UN/World Bank sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.

5) Other farming technologies are more successful
Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world. Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.

6) GM foods have not been shown to be safe to eat
Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria. Etc.)  into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrisome health effects. Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but it was never followed up.

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years without ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they caused millions of premature deaths.

“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences. “ -Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist

7) Stealth GMOs are in animal feed – without consumers’ consent
Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labeled. Some studies have shown that contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed ARE different from those raised on non-GM feed. Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and that the animals’ health can be affected. So eating “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.

8) GM crops are a long-term economic disaster for farmers
A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for US farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded,

“At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the US that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”

9) GM and non-GM cannot co-exist.
GM contamination of conventional and organic is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic rapeseed oil industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rapeseed. In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible.”

The time has come to choose between a GM based or a non-GM based, world food supply. “If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed” – Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development.

10) We can’t trust GM companies
The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes – even if those genes got into the farmer’s fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects. “Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell.” – Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer.

Please check out my December 8th, 2010 blog on GMOs.. It will give you additional information on how dangerous this technology is.  Everyone must become informed and Spread the Word.  I recently attended a meeting nearby and promised to direct potential voters to www.ResponsibleTechnology.org or www.labelgmos.org in order to get this initiative on the ballot. More people are needed to help in getting the word out. After you contact them, they will let you know how you can vote for this initiative.

I have more information – and will do another blog on this subject in the near future, because this is such a serious problem. It is hard to believe that “educated” business people who are promoting this biotechnology can’t see the catastrophic situation that is being set up, because of their focus on profit – not the welfare of their fellow beings and all other life. It is imperative that we stop these Genetically engineered foods from harming the planet further.

Healthfully Yours,

Barbara Charis

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