With the upcoming (November 5) vote on the GMO Labeling Initiative in Washington State, I wanted to collect and link to some of the most thoughtful articles from previously undecided voters, stores and health watch organizations. I realize that many of my own blog readers already eat organic foods and have their own opinion about GMO labels or bans. Given the confusing smear campaign of lies from big, out of state corporations, I wanted to offer information from real voters and organizations who’ve done their research. Please share with anyone you know who lives in Washington State, as GMO labels in Washington would likely result in GMO labels across the US. Many thanks!
This is an excellent post from someone who originally signed the YES petition, then began to doubt her signature due to all the negative ads on TV. After pulling back and doing more research, actually talking to local farmers and delving into the true or false claims of those ads, this blogger shares her own process of how she returned to feeling confident about a YES vote. This one’s definitely worth a read by anyone who has felt similar pulls one way or the other, especially after the barrage of attack ads and scare tactics from the NO side.
2. Another excellent, well-researched explanation of how a regular voter came to an informed yes vote Some highlights include:
“GMOs were added to our foods in 1994 without our knowledge and consent. The GE food is processed in a sterile laboratory and complex technological environment, far away from farmers’ greenhouses and the good earth. The DNA of a plant or animal with bacteria or another microbes serving as genome carriers is bombarded into the DNA of another plant or animal at speeds reaching 600 mph. Eventually the DNA intruders attach to host DNA to achieve the desired recombined traits of both.”
“It is also important to understand a little bit about the companies who research and manufacture GMOs. They are chemical companies such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical. Their products include many banned toxins such as DDT, Agent Orange, Napalm, PCB and Bovine Growth Hormone.” …
“Included in the sustainable agriculture movement was an increasing awareness of the potential harm of GMOs in our food supply. Fueling the movement by activists and experts alike; were the proven harmful effects of GMOs on human health. Until now, the FDA had accepted industry’s word alone, that GMOs were safe. Despite the economic prowess of the chemical companies in the media, independent testing was done of GMO corn. The results were definitive that GE corn fed to rats caused abnormalities including tumors, allergies, digestive problems, liver failure and death.
“A largely unknown fact about GMOs is U.S. states with GMOs are banned from trading such food products with 15 countries and in 49 of US’s major trading partners require labeling. Consumers demanded and succeeded in having foods contaminated with GMOs labeled as such.” …
“Let’s look at advocates for labeling and voting Yes on I-522. What is their rebuttal? They say labeling will give consumers more information about our food so we can make informed choices. They want full disclosure on the label, a privilege enjoyed by 49 other countries without cost to consumers. The truth is labeling changes are made with a simple keystroke and changing labels is a common practice. Solving hunger? Well, even Third World countries have banned GMOs! Not exactly solving a hunger problem, is it? Lastly, the text of I-522 does explain what the bill exactly covers. This bill is designed to satisfy legislative requirements.
“What else is the well-funded no campaign not saying about GE food products?
“Transnational chemical corporations such as Monsanto behave as entitled Medieval fiefdoms, are litigious, and have already sued growers for patent infringement when Monsanto GE seeds germinate and grow on neighbor’s fields. Farmers are not allowed to save GE seeds. With an increasing influence on global trade and patented seed, farmers in India the suicide has reached the thousands each year as noted earlier. Around the world, larger Big Agra farms are devouring smaller farms and putting many farmers out of business. The heavy use of chemical pesticides and herbicides is polluting our groundwater and creating super weeds that require stronger herbicides to rid them. These issues are among the ones that we need to consider.
“Should chemical companies and farms be allowed to operate in secrecy or be required to fully disclose food additives that have their DNA re-defined beyond recognition to potentially become food allergens? And more importantly, will our growing awareness of technology serve corporate profits or will it help us cultivate and cherish ourselves in service of the planet and humankind?”
The article begins, “Food labels changed my life. It sounds dramatic, but I genuinely believe I would be leading a completely different life if not for mandated food labeling. The day I began flipping to the back of packages was the day I began losing weight; it was the day my life changed course from fat, sick and tired to vibrant, active, and balanced. Straightforward and uniform food labels changed my life – for the better.” The author goes on to make several excellent points:
“The No on I-522 campaign has tried using its advertising to scare and confuse voters about the costs associated with the passage of this initiative. One of their primary messages cites an increase in the cost of groceries when new language is added to commercial packaging. Let’s think about this in terms of common sense. The last time you were in a grocery store, I’ll bet there were numerous cereal or snack food boxes with marketing images from a current or upcoming movie and beverage cans with football season images. Packaging changes All-The-Time!” …
“In another of their television commercials, the ‘no’ campaign argues that requiring labeling would be against the national standard. (Had I been sipping something when I first heard the ad liquid would have assuredly splattered out of my nose.) Of course adding this language would be “against the national standard”; when it comes to labeling GMOs, there is no national standard and huge food science corporations are funneling big bucks into the ‘No’ campaign’s marketing to keep it that way. Funny, though, they neglect to mention the international standard. Around the world, 64 countries require this very type of retail package labeling. In fact, those very same corporations that are paying for the ‘no’ votes sell products in those 64 countries with this labeling when appropriate.”
“To the editor — I’ve been called a health nut and an exercise freak, but what I’ve never been known as is a radical. For instance, I don’t think it’s radical to insist on knowing what’s in the food that I and my daughter eat. Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Dupont — plus the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 300 corporations, seem to think that it is a radical viewpoint, though. They’re spending millions fighting Initiative 522, which would allow all Washingtonians the right to know what’s in our food.
“My health is important to me. My daughter’s health is important to me. I can’t make informed choices if I don’t know what’s in the food she eats. As a parent, it’s my job to give her all the best that I’m able, for the few short years that I can. I jealously guard my right to do so, for my little girl’s sake. I know I’m not the only one.”
“We strongly believe consumers have the right to make informed decisions about the products they bring into their homes, and what they put into their bodies. These principles are what led to our decision to support Initiative 522, which will require the labeling of genetically engineered foods in Washington state.
“’Labeling genetically engineered foods is a common-sense solution that gives consumers the ability to make their own decisions.’ – Erika Schreder, Science Director, Washington Toxics Coalition
“In addition to giving consumers control over what they are feeding their families, we are concerned about the increased use of pesticides associated with GE crops. A WSU study published last year found farmers reliant on GE crops were increasing the volume of herbicides used by about 25% annually to deal with “superweeds” created by overuse. [Laura’s note: yes, that is a 25% increase in herbicide use PER YEAR. The famous Agent Orange is a herbicide produced by Monsanto. Pesticides and herbicides have been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and endocrine disruption, along with other suspected detrimental health effects.]
PCC Natural Market in the Seattle area gives a nice breakdown of what would and would not be labeled, legal exemptions, other states’ efforts, as well as how GMO labeling would affect home gardeners and shoppers.
I used to love this place when I lived in Seattle! The link above takes you to a page with recent GMO headlines, including articles that detail and explain the deception used by the NO campaign. This is an important resource for people who’ve mostly seen the scare and attack ads on TV, because it gives the facts about who’s contributing, as well as the sneakiness involved. As Sonja noted in the first article above, why the need for such deception? If the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) can afford to dump millions into a NO campaign, why couldn’t they have just spent some of that money on labeling the food? Will food prices go up even without labeling due to all this money spent to hide what’s in that food? “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
This statement comes from the Pacific Northwest regional president. Whole Foods has taken a lot of heat from consumers about selling GMO foods in their “natural” stores. This statement explains why Whole Foods has openly supported the Washington Labeling Initiative since April.