The Beginning of a Slippery Slope: Vermont Will Become the First U.S. State to Require the Labeling of GMO Foods.

Well, folks. It’s all downhill from here. After proposed legislations upon proposed legislations, Vermont has become the first state to pass a bill that will require all genetically-modified (GMO) foods to be labeled accordingly. Vermont Governor Pat Shumlin signed the bill last week, and it will become effective July 1, 2016. Why is this a terrible idea? Because there is a lack of credible scientific evidence suggesting that GMOs are unsafe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization all have determined that GMO foods are not unsafe for human consumption. In fact, there is NOT even one mainstream scientifically-accurate study showing that GMOs are unsafe. So then why we would we even put a label on them? Because there is a ridiculous, scientifically-inaccurate conspiracy going around that GMO foods are harmful. There’s also a plethora of junk research studies out there suggesting that GMOs are unsafe, and a few select bloggers, journalists and anti-GMO activists have taken those scientifically-inaccurate studies and ran with them. Consumers often say that they want GMO foods to be labeled so that they have the right to choose what they purchase and put into their bodies. They want to make sure that they are eating the healthiest foods possible.

However, slapping on a label that says “GMO” won’t help them become any healthier. GMO labels will simply CONFUSE consumers. They will begin to think that GMO foods are unsafe and won’t want to buy them. Imagine walking into a grocery store and having the option of two different yogurts, one that says “GMO” and one that says “GMO-free.” My bet is that about 95% of consumers are going to grab the yogurt that says “GMO-free.” And they will be paying more. FOR NO REASON AT ALL. The GMO-free product will consist of the exact same nutrition as the non-GMO product. 

Passing this bill in Vermont is the start of a very slippery slope. The passing of this bill will change how consumers view not only GMO foods, but also agriculture as a whole. The passing of this bill may inevitably change how we feed America. And the passing of this bill may change how we feed the world. It makes my heart hurt. New York State looks like it may jump on the GMO-labeling bandwagon soon, as it has recently advanced its own version, and similar bills have also been proposed in states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Connecticut. What will the result of all this nonsense be? Food prices everywhere will increase and consumers will end up paying higher prices for foods that are of the same nutritional value as their GMO counterparts. Families on budgets will be ripped of their money, even though little Charlie will be eating the same foods as before.

I also can’t even begin to imagine how messy things would be if every state develops its own individual policy regarding the labeling of GMOs! That 50-state framework would be a disaster because consumers wouldn’t know what the heck to believe.

So why are we confusing America’s families? It’s time to put a stop to this. We need a federal standard to prevent all of this unnecessary GMO-labeling nonsense, before it is too late. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) recently introduced a bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” that would create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of GMO foods. It would also give the FDA the sole authority to require mandatory labeling if GMO products are ever found to be unsafe or materially different than non-GMO foods. The bill would protect consumers and eliminate confusion so that farmers can continue to feed us in a safe, economical and efficient manner. Pompeo and Butterfield, you rock.

And what about that notion that GMOs are brand new to society and we can’t possibly have enough information suggesting that they are safe? THIS IS FALSE.

GMOs are grown from seeds whose genes have been altered just enough to best withstand our changing society’s needs. We have been doing this since the dawn of time. Ever heard of Gregor Mendel? He was a famous geneticist born in 1822, who I’m sure you learned about in high school biology class. Mendel used a Punnett Square to create new types of pea plants that contained desirable traits. THIS WAS IN THE YEAR 1822. We have been genetically-modifying our foods since at least the 1800’s. The only thing that is different now is that we have years of science and technology to help us do it better. Currently, about 80% of the foods in the United States are produced from genetic engineering. No GMOs = No food. Simple as that.

For a more thorough background on the importance of GMOs to our environment, health and global food security, check out the post that I wrote a few months back: https://mollsymoo.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/i-eat-gmos/

But in short, here are why GMOs are awesome:

1.) We can grow foods that are resistant to weeds and bugs and can withstand awful weather conditions like droughts. Farmers can produce higher yields of safer, quality foods this way.

2.) We can produce foods that are of higher nutritional value like Golden Rice, a crop that is high in Vitamin A and helps children with Vitamin A deficiencies so that they can see.

3.) We can produce foods that stay fresher longer. Otherwise, those fruits you are eating from Florida may be brown by the time they get to your table.

The U.S. has a responsibility to help feed the world. We have the tools in our hands. Now let’s STOP being silly, STOP listening to the activists, the junk studies, and the uninformed bloggers and journalists. Let’s START becoming informed about where out food comes from. And let’s START accepting the fact that GMOs are safe and beneficial to our world’s food supply.

For more information on GMOs and to review scientific literature, check out this informative article by Jon Entine, head of the Genetic Literacy Project and senior fellow at the Center for Risk & Health Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/14/2000-reasons-why-gmos-are-safe-to-eat-and-environmentally-sustainable/

MollsyMoo

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6 thoughts on “The Beginning of a Slippery Slope: Vermont Will Become the First U.S. State to Require the Labeling of GMO Foods.

  1. sfl says:

    What’s wrong with GMO labeling. In a free market people are allowed to choose what products they want to buy. We are a free market still, aren’t we? Why the obstructionism when people want to be informed about what they’re eating?

    BTW, many GMOs are not as natural as they have been in the past. With chemicals being more commonly used in GMOs, instead of a type of hybridization of plant species used in the past, there is a high danger of unexpected effects (and diseases) of these new methods of genetic modification.

    Either you need to better inform yourself of modern methods used these days or stop misleading people if you’re already informed. A good portion of newer GMOs are not produced in the same manner as they were in the past.

    • Hi sfl, thank you for your response. The problem with GMO labeling is that they have not been scientifically-proven to be unsafe. Labeling them as GMO would mislead consumers to believe that those products are unsafe, and subsequently many people would purchase them at higher prices. For example, if the GMO labeling proposal is passed in New York State, food prices could increase by as much as $500/year for a family of four. Yes, you are correct that this is a free market. America is a wonderful place because we are given countless options of foods to purchase. Food companies offer many organic lines for consumers who desire GMO-free foods to purchase. The USDA prohibits the use of genetic engineering in organic products. YOU have the CHOICE to purchase organic products. However, I feel that we should reserve product labels for items that affect human health. As far as your claim about GMOs not being as natural as they were in the past is concerned: Years of scientific research has given us the ability to transfer traits from one species to another, through the use of technology. This is a much more time-efficient and effective method than the hybridization process used in Mendel’s time. GMOs actually help our country to be more sustainable, as they require the use of less pesticides/herbicides. GMOs also have the potential to allow farmers to plant seeds that are resistant to droughts and harsh weather conditions, so that they can continue to provide a safe and abundant food supply for our nation. I recommend that you visit a farm so that you can learn how your food is produced. Here is an article that may be beneficial to your understanding of GMOs: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/14/2000-reasons-why-gmos-are-safe-to-eat-and-environmentally-sustainable/

  2. This has to be the most illegitimate ridiculous “article”/blog I’ve ever read. Not only are none of your arguments backed up by any research or citations, your studying Media & Public Affairs concentrating in Agricultural Policy….embarrassing your writing is so poorly researched and argued?… Or clear that you don’t even have a slight understanding of what you’re talking about? Do you even realize that studies about GMO safety released from the USDA, FDA, AMA and others are funded by the corporations who seek to gain from them? Do you realize that the mainstream media is so convoluted, controlled, corrupt and censored that of course they don’t talk about any anti-GMO propaganda. And the Gregor Mendel reference….he was crossbreeding plants…genetically engineering is something TOTALLY different. Between the years of 1856-1863 (not 1822 unless he did his experiments in his first year of life) Mendel discovered that by cross pollinating plants he could achieve more desirable characteristics. Today, (since the early 1990’s actually) we are unnaturally inserting genes from one species into a completely different species. This would neverrr happen in nature. And your concern about “confusing” the public?! They need to be confused, they NEED to be informed about the dangers of consuming something so toxic. Do you realize that GMOs are banned in over 60 countries? Who I’m sure all did research that didn’t come from the USDA, FDA or AMA. And the fact that you don’t realize GMO crops are only resistant to weeds and bugs because we genetically alter them to withstand the more than 100 million pounds of toxic pesticides we spray on our produce every year in the united states….which by the way we then eat. Pesticides further pollute the soil and create even less nutritious soil for the next crop…creating less nutritious foods, not more nutritious like your article states. Only a “few select bloggers, journalists and anti-GMO activists” care about GMO labeling? Check out the Center for Food Safety poll reports on GMO labeling opinions…most polls average >80% pro GMO labeling. The only good piece of advice you give is to stop listening to uninformed bloggers and journalists… #proudtoliveinVT #freedomandunity

    • Hi Hannah, I appreciate your point of view, but I do not condone personal attacks on my blog. This was not intended to be a headline news story; it is simply my opinion based on a lifetime of education, on-farm experiences and scientific evidence. I am always glad to have adult, intellectual discussions with others regarding the use and labeling of GMOs. If you are interested in learning my credentials, feel free to view my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=85385335&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile. If you would like to speak with an expert on biotechnology, I will gladly connect you with a well-respected geneticist. I also strongly recommend that you visit a farm so that you can learn first-hand how your food is produced.

      • I live next door to a farm and have been to many others. I know how food is raised. I appreciate the fact that your article is based on your “education” and “on-farm experiences” but in no way is it based on scientific evidence. If it is…I’d like to see your citations to said “scientific evidence”.

  3. […] prices and result in a MESS for food producers, including the very farmers who feed us. I wrote a blog a few months ago about the passed legislation in Vermont that will require all food products […]

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