October 21, 2018

GMO Labeling Defeated in Elections; Slaughter Too Close to Call

Voters in Colorado defeated a GMO labeling initiative on the ballot last night, and it looks like Oregon’s initiative will be defeated too, although the vote is very close. Even though labeling enjoys overwhelming support in opinion polls, that support will not translate into actual progress. The United States and Canada are the only major countries in the world that do not require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

GMO TomatoAnd the only microbiologist in Congress, Louise Slaughter, is ahead of her opponent by just a few hundred votes. Slaughter is a vocal supporter of food safety issues in the U.S. House. Rep. Slaughter is also a defender of medically important antibiotics and wants the FDA to restrict the sub therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals.

GMO (genetically modified organisms) or GE (genetically engineered) foods have had their DNA altered in a lab. Scientists inject a gene from another animal or plant into the DNA of the food to be changed to alter its characteristics. There have never been any long-term studies on the safety of GMO foods, and while the government says there is no difference between GMO foods and natural foods, companies file patents on GMO foods stating there is a difference.

Huge corporations spent big bucks to defeat these ballot measures, saying that consumers would be frightened away from the products if they knew what was in them. They also say that labels would cost consumers money, although a study by Consumers Union states that the cost of adding labels to altered foods would be about $2.00 a year per family. Corporations opposing GMO labeling include Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Bayer Cropscience, Syngenta, Nestle USA, and ConAgra.

In Colorado, Proposition 105 lost 66 to 34%. The Oregon State Ballot Measure No. 92 is currently losing 50.91% to 49.09%. Supporters of labeling say that consumers deserve the right to know what is in the food they eat, that the safety of GMO foods has not been established, and that the use of poisonous pesticides and herbicides has skyrocketed since the introduction of many GMO plants, threatening human health.

 

 

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