Congress has a Chance to do Something Right: Will They?

Congress has a Chance to do Something Right: Will They?

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Food products in the United States have had labels informing consumers of various ingredients and other information such as cholesterol and fat content for years. My wife and I read them. Why shouldn’t we be informed if the food we purchase was produced with the use of Genetically Modified Organisms? We pay for it, and we have the right to know.

There will soon be a battle in Congress, and the results of that battle will prove whether or not the Republican controlled Congress supports the American people or big business. The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would require manufacturers to label foods created with the use of GMO’s. This will prove once and for all if our government represents the rights of the many or the greed of the few. Is it not reasonable that consumers have a choice whether or not they trust chemically modified fruits, vegetables or grains?

Major retailers and those involved in agribusiness oppose labeling. Their single argument is that they have not harmed human beings since their introduction into our food supply in 1992. How do they know that is a fact? My response is, ‘if they are safe, why are they opposing labels on products manufactured with GMO material?’ They have nothing to fear.

Sixty countries worldwide have either banned the use of GMO’s, or required labeling and other sensible restrictions, including the European Union, Australia and Japan. The difference between these nations and the United States is that they believe in science; our Congress does not. Sorry to inform you, but America is not always right.

Today, February 13, 2015, the Department of Agriculture approved growing apples using GMO seeds. When these apples are bruised or cut open and left uncovered, they will not turn brown. Think about that for a minute. One of nature’s purest and most delicious fruits will be changed. The reason human beings are no longer in the ‘garden of Eden’ will be improved. Will it really? If a natural food no longer acts naturally, hasn’t its structure and healthy food content been compromised?

Why do GMO products exist? Monsanto, DuPont, and others will tell you a direct lie and say that they create larger crops and therefore will aid in the world’s hunger crisis. The truth is that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup Ready kills seeds and plants which are not genetically modified. GMO seeds are resistant to the herbicide. Here is the problem. These plants which are grown with GMO’s contain chemical contaminants which scientists believe will cause cell damage in humans over time. Why not use another herbicide? Roundup Ready is cheap to manufacture and inexpensive to purchase. But here’s another concern. The weeds which grow around plants grown with GMO’s have become more resistant as well. Farmers are forced to use vastly more herbicide to kill those weeds; Roundup covers the plants as well. Usual methods of washing fruits and vegetables are ineffective; the sticky herbicide is difficult to remove by washing alone.

Florida wants to use a GMO organism to control the mosquito population. The project is reminiscent of the horror movies of the 1960’s, such as “The Fly,” and “Them.”

A British company, ‘Oxitec,’ has developed a way to genetically modify male mosquitoes, rendering them sterile. When the GMO mosquitoes mate with females, the resulting larvae will die before they hatch.

Because some altered female mosquitoes will be released as well, opponents have expressed concerns about the effect on humans if they are bitten by one of the females. Environmentalists and people’s rights activists want more testing and a guarantee that GMO mosquitoes are unquestionably safe.

If Congress sides with big business and ignores the rights of consumers, we are left with a single alternative.

In the area where my wife and I live, we have witnessed an increasing number of food items which have a ‘no GMO’ label. Products not labeled in such a manner can be assumed to have been produced with GMO material. If you’re not yet sure, you can consult the Non-GMO Project for more information and from there ascertain which foods do not contain chemical modification.

By James Turnage

Sources:

RT

New York Times

Common Dreams.org

Photo Courtesy of Stephen Melkisethian

Flickr License

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