For the first time ever I hope that the Environmental Working Group is actually right about something. EWG was in a state of panic distress last week when it beseeched supporters to contact their senators shouting that, “If Big Food gets its way and the Dark Act passes the Senate (after having passed the House) that the Fight for GMO labeling is over. There will be no second chances.”
I very much hope that the Senate passes this bill and as the EWG claims, the fight for GMO labeling is over. What the bill, which is more appropriately named the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, actually says is that foods declared safe by the FDA do not require GMO labeling.
If you want to voluntarily label for GMO-free content, that is fine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is to set up an accredited certification process for that.
There has never been any GMO yet for which there has been discovered to be any science-determined risk to consumers. Yet the GMO opponents, though lacking any bonafide evidence of a health or safety risk to support their case, want to hang signs on food relative to GMO content as a warning.
Uninformed consumers who have bought into the anti-GMO malarkey can buy organic food and therefore avoid GMOs entirely. It is not as if they are being forced, as some claim, to eat food with GMO ingredients.
GMO technology has proven beneficial to farm production so, being widely adopted, are included in most foods today.
An estimated 80 percent of food has GMO ingredients so it should be assumed that if food is not labeled organic that it contains GMOs unless of course, under the new label it says otherwise. That is pretty simple. If there is a no Organic or GMO-free label it should be construed that the food was derived without a GMO ingredient. So when GMO opponents claim that consumers have a right to know what is in their food they will have that knowledge and have a very clear option of choice. Regular food contains GMOs while organic and GMO-free labeled foods do not . . . what else would they need to know?
It has always puzzled me why, as genes are organic, that the Organic food industry rejects gene transferred biotechnologically. While there is no science based reason, there is a commercial one. It is part of their branding scheme to disparage GMOs to add value to the Organic industry by spreading fear and doubt in conventional food. That reason alone is why the Organic Trade Council campaigned against the labeling bill. Their first preference for labeling would be skull and crossbones on any food that is not organic.
The GMO labeling bill that passed the House and is moving on to the Senate creates a very clear, concise, simple, Federal regimen for GMO labeling that informs and protects consumers thereby avoiding a 50 state patchwork of GMO regulation that doesn’t fit a national food supply chain. The EWG wants costly GMO labels so that they can call attention to conventional food in order to disparage it to uninformed consumers who don’t appear to know that all foods have been genetically modified and that whether that is accomplished by environmental selection, conventional crossbreeding or was scientifically modified, makes no difference.
Their unholy objective is to force food manufacturers to segregate supply chains to isolate GMO food ingredients to accommodate unwarranted baseless consumer fears, disrupting the U.S. food chain, increasing costs with the consequence of harming this country’s food supply. The nation’s poorest consumers would be hurt the worst with higher food costs that would be totally unwarranted and totally unnecessary. The EWG claim that GMO labeling, the way they want to do it, would not increase food costs and is a premeditated lie.
The EWG practices a unique form of domestic fear-mongering. If food is FDA approved as having no health or safety risk there is no other valid reason for GMO food labeling. The EWG has its own agenda of disparaging conventional agriculture, disparaging biotechnology, biotech companies, conventional pesticide use, crop insurance subsidies, and most farmers in general. The rejection of adopting advancement in use of biotechnology by agriculture by the EWG is peculiar considering the isolated nature of this rejection. The EWG promotes a pre-1950’s model of agriculture which was before we had color TV.
They relegate us to a model of production that creates an unsustainable retroversion to dark-age agriculture. Like their Salem witch hunting predecessors they have no evidence of credible harm and despite credible evidence of benefit reject biotechnology from an ideological or is it theological basis? It is hard to determine where their irrational opposition to science based food production comes from.
In this new era of post-Trump-political correctness I think that the EWG should be called what it is, a special interest deception organization operated by unethical mercenary liars.
These type of organizations have been tolerated for too long as credible contributors to ag and food policy discourse and need to be called out for what they are.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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