By Jackie Rainford Corcoran EBS Health Columnist
Pro-GMO companies are spending big money right now on Capitol Hill to persuade your senator to vote against your right to know if your food contains genetically modified organisms. A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June that would prevent mandatory labeling of GMO foods goes to the Senate next.
Unlike traditional agriculture where animals are crossbred or plants are cross-pollinated, GMO companies use technology to genetically combine species that cannot breed naturally. This creates unstable organisms, and the effects on humans are yet to be seen – it wasn’t until 1994 that GMO products were introduced to the U.S.
More than 60 countries, including all of the European Union, significantly restrict or outright ban the production and sale of GMOs. The U.S., however, has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
Farmers growing GMO crops are continually using more chemical herbicides as their plants become resistant to them. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GMO crops, as a “probable human carcinogen,” and classified a second herbicide– a component of Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War known as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid – a “possible human carcinogen.”
Consider the effects of these carcinogens on our soil, water and pollinating insects like monarch butterflies and honeybees.
Companies that in 2014 spent $63.6 million to lobby against labeling are ignoring these studies. These companies include: Coca-Cola North America, Kraft Foods Global Inc., Kellogg Company, PepsiCo Inc., Campbell Soup Company, General Mills Inc. and The Grocery Manufacturers Association, among others.
Today, approximately 94 percent of U.S. corn, soybeans and cotton – cottonseed oil is often used in food products – is genetically modified. More than 75 percent of processed foods in U.S. supermarkets contain GMO ingredients, and they’re in much of the food eaten by our livestock.
With this knowledge, do you want to know if your food contains GMOs? A June 2015 abcnews.com poll found that 93 percent of Americans want GMOs labeled.
So here’s where we are with labeling laws:
H.R. 1599, a bill called the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 24, and Montana’s Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke voted in its favor.
The title of this bill is incredibly misleading. In reality, it calls for a “voluntary labeling system,” blocks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from implementing mandatory GMO labeling, and allows food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GMOs.
Those who oppose H.R. 1599 have dubbed this bill the “DARK Act” as in “Deny Americans the Right to Know”.
It is up to the American people to take matters into their own hands and opt out of the GMO experiment.
Collectively, we can prevail over corporate giants who do not have our best interests at heart. Vote with your voice, ballots and dollars.
Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach, public speaker and health activist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.