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Big Food: The Public Can’t Handle the ‘Truth’ About GMOs

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by Steve Eastman, Wait Til You Hear This

Last week the US House passed the Safe and Accurate Food labeling Act of 2015, which bans states from requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods.  Congressman Jared Polis, of Colorado, tried to change the name of the bill to the more accurate Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) act, but was unsuccessful.

The Bill’s sponsor, Congressman Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, claims, “Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered products has no basis in legitimate health or safety concerns, but is a naked attempt to impose the preferences of a small segment of the populace on the rest of us.”

64 other countries that require labeling disagree.  Pompeo is either ignorant of or pretending not to know of a study published in the peer-reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology three years ago.  The health website mercola.com summarizes the results as showing “that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems.”  There have been more than 30 similar studies.

Researchers doing these studies have nearly impossible obstacles to overcome. Monsanto makes farmers buying its genetically modified seed sign agreements not to use the product for research or to provide it to researchers. It sounds like they have something to hide.

Congressional “power” to ban states from requiring the labeling of GMOs is presumable based on the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution, however the rationale is selectively applied.  Hawaii, for example, restricts the import of plants from the mainland. And Arizona bans recreational marijuana grown in neighboring Colorado.  States at the very minimum should have the authority to regulate what is produced within their own borders.

It goes without saying that members of Congress are supposed to represent the people and not the moneyed interests of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto.

The final irony is that back in 1999 Monsanto was caught banning GMO foods from its corporate cafeteria in Buckinghamshire, England. The UK’s Independent reports, “Monsanto confirmed the position. ‘Yes, this is the case, and it is because we believe in choice,’ said the company’s spokesman, Tony Coombes.”

The Dark Act proceeds to the US Senate, where similar legislation has not been previously introduced.  Backers of true food choice are hoping the measure will die there.  In reality, it’s the Big Food industry, not the public, which has problems handling the truth.

© 2015 Wait Til You Hear This

Credit for photo on homepage:  Stephen Melkisethian, cropped, flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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