If you try to watch what you eat and occasionally shop in the health food section of the grocery store or at a co-op, you have no doubt heard of the campaign to label genetically modified foods, also known as GMOS. Today, Republican Representative Mike Pompeo from Kansas wrote an editorial that was featured in The Wichita Eagle, describing why he is against this labeling. For full editorial, see the following link-
Pompeo refutes the need for GMO labeling and instead favors an act called “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014.” This act basically says that we only need labeling if the ingredient has been found to be unsafe by the FDA. This leads one to wonder, if the FDA has determined for certain that an ingredient is unsafe, shouldn’t that ingredient be removed from the shelves entirely? Secondly, when one looks at the large variety of products for sale in the free market, it is clear that there are many ingredients that some people consider safe, while others do not. Regardless, people should have a right to know what is in their food.
The issue is not as black and white as a label that calls a food “Dangerous” or “Safe.” A recovering alcoholic would want to know if there is alcohol in a food, because the mere taste of the substance can trigger cravings for an addict. A person who follows a particular religious doctrine might be careful not to ingest certain foods, or to mix different kinds of foods together. A Diabetic or anyone who has blood sugar issues would want to know if a food is high in white sugar or sugar substitutes that act the same as sugar. Someone who is Lactose intolerant or allergic to an ingredient such as gluten or nuts would surely want to know if these ingredients are in their foods. This is not to say that any of these foods should have a huge red warning label on them with a skull and crossbones, and what is dangerous or unethical to one person might not be to another. However it seems obvious that we should all practice truth in advertising and allow people to know what they are eating.
Historically, this practice of labeling has been accepted by the companies that produced the food. The issue now is that we have items that used to be pure and therefore did not need labeling, and they are now genetically modified into new substances. For instance, if you see a stalk of corn in a grocery store, you can identify it as a corn. There may be a sign present just to tell you the price of the vegetable, but even a small child can tell a person what that object is. Or can they? Genetically modified BT corn has been bred with the gene Bacillus Thuringeiensis, a bacterium that is toxic enough to serve as a pesticide for the corn. So while a person may have eaten corn all of his or her life with no difficulties, he or she may develop an allergy or another negative reaction after eating genetically modified corn which is a fundamentally different food than what we have known previously. For more information about BT corn and “The Fish Tomato,” see the following link-
Pompeo and his cronies can claim that this genetically modified food is safe, but don’t we have the right to know what we are eating regardless? The issue seems so simple on the face of it that it makes one question why Pompeo can’t understand. We just want to know what we’re eating, why do you have a problem with that? Well a look at Pompeo’s political position details exactly why. Pompeo was basically bought into office by a Political Action Campaign, (or PAC,) funded by the Koch Brothers. In case you are not familiar with these billionare brothers, here is a synopsis of their views and activities, with links.
• They own and operate oil refineries in Kansas, Alaska, Arkansas and Minnesota. They have been the subject of multiple lawsuits claiming that their refineries caused cancer to nearby residents.
• In addition to oil, Koch Brothers also make their money from products such as Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific Lumber, Stainmaster Carpet, and Lycra.
• They are far right politically, and support the most extreme portion of The Tea Party.
• The University of Massachusetts conducted a study which named them as one of the top ten air polluters in America.
• They deny climate change exists.
While a state representative is supposed to represent the views of his or her constituents, it is clear that Pompeo represents the interests of big business, at any cost. Sadly he’s not the only one. From supreme court judges to members of congress to secretaries of agriculture, defense and health, many people who are currently in power politically started out working for Monsanto, and their loyalties demonstrate this. For more on this, see the following link-
Politicians like Pompeo hail genetically modified foods as the way of the future, suggesting that there have been no negative repercussions, no one has ever gotten sick from eating the food, and these new factory farming techniques will help us to feed the world and basically create a utopia. This begs the question, if GMOs are so safe, why is it that twenty six countries have banned its use? (See following link for more-)
Well those other countries might have banned GMOs because pesticides and insecticides promoted by companies like Monsanto are killing off the world’s bee population, threatening life as we know it on planet earth. For more information about Monsanto, GMOs and bees, see the following link-
Or maybe some of those countries banned GMOs because factory farming threatens the livelihood of millions of farmers who, up until recently have been able to modestly support their families by living off the land.
Or, maybe people in those countries anticipated the current nightmare scenario in America where Monsanto’s deadly herbicide, “Roundup,” has been found not only in air and water samples, but in some American women’s breast-milk.
Or, maybe, just maybe, the people in those twenty six other countries just have more common sense than we do. When they look at the myriad of wonderful creations from Mother Nature they follow the adage, “If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it.”
What you can do:
• Sign the petitions letting your representative know that you believe GMOs should be labeled. See the following links-
• Buy truly natural foods and support local farmers.
• Boycott companies and products that threaten our earth.
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