GMO Labeling and our Food: Why It Matters

I am joining Friends of the Earth and bloggers from around the country to unite for GMO labeling by participating in a Blogging Carnival. We want to spread the word to let everyone know why GMO labeling is important.

In a few weeks, voters in Washington state will have an opportunity to be the first state to make labeling of genetically modified food a requirement by voting yes on I-522, the GMO labeling initiative. But, just like they did in California last year, big chemical and junk food companies are conspiring to cloud this issue with false information and fear mongering. It worked in California. Now we are joining together, educating voters around the country, so that it doesn’t happen in Washington.

GMO Truth Squad - Yes on I-522

A lot of what I am writing here is a repeat of what I wrote before the California election in 2012, because everything that I wrote holds true today.  You can read that whole post here.

Even if you don’t live in Washington, you need to know what is going on with our food, what genetically modified food is, and how potentially damaging it is. At some point, your state will be voting on the same thing, and if we don’t stand up for our right to know what is in our food, the big corporations will win again. It comes down to this:

We have a right to know what is in our food

As simple as that. Label food so that consumers can make the choice themselves.

GMO Labeling - Yes on I-522

From my original post:

What is Genetically Engineered Food?
A genetically engineered food, also called a genetically modified organism (or GMO), is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature. Today, as much as 85% of corn and a majority of soy in the U.S. is genetically engineered to either produce its own pesticide or withstand increased amounts of weed killer pesticide.

How do I Know if I’m Eating Genetically Engineered Food?
You don’t. Most of the processed foods we eat and feed our children contain genetically engineered ingredients, but we have no way of knowing which because these foods aren’t labeled.

Are My Kids Eating Genetically Engineered Food?
The sad truth is many of the foods that are most popular with children contain GMOs. Cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats, and crackers all contain large amounts of high risk food ingredients. In North America, over 80% of our food contains GMOs.

What Are the Most Common GMOs?
The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow). Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.

GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

So why are we not being told? Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.

Consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we buy, eat and feed our children, just as we have the right to know how many calories are in our food, or whether food comes from other countries like Mexico or China. The same goes for whether our meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables are genetically engineered in a laboratory. We should all be able to make informed choices, and have the freedom to choose whether to buy genetically engineered food or not.

The Non-GMO Project is a nationwide, non-profit organization that provides North America’s only third-party labeling and verification for non-GMO products and food. Again, education is the key. Spread the word. Be an activist. When people understand the potential risks associated with genetically engineered food, 90% support mandatory labeling. Together we can be stronger than the lobbies.

Did you know…

  • 99% of the funding for the I-522 opposition comes from outside of Washington state.
  • Labeling GMO food does not raise the price of food. Manufacturers already change labels on a regular basis and they have 18 months to comply with the new labeling requirements.
  • Farming GMO crops uses more pesticides than conventional crops.
  • The US is the only developed country that does not require testing of genetically modified food.
  • American companies already label the GMO food they send to 64 other countries (they are required to).

I urge you to get involved. Learn more about genetically modified foods, spread the word, speak up. If you are a blogger, you can join the Blogging Carnival and write about the topic. We deserve to know what is in our food.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love that you are spreading the word about GMOs and the I-522! I am a huge proponent of labeling GMOs. If other countries are banning these substances from their food, shouldn’t we be worried? Hopefully it passes and starts a chain reaction all over the country. Fingers crossed.
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