It’s been a few days since voters in California rejected a proposition that would have required food companies to label foods containing genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). The ballot measure ignited a very strong marketing campaign funded by those who had the most to lose: pesticide and seed companies as well as the gigantic food conglomerates whose products include ingredients that would have required labeling or may already be banned in many Western countries outside the U.S. Just take a peek at this list and you’ll see that Monsanto’s level of financial support was, by itself, greater than all of the funds raised in support of Proposition 37. Doesn’t that make you wonder? Come and think with us!
I like to believe that there must be a reason why a group of corporations is prepared to pour $45,000,000 to defeat an effort that aims to provide consumers with more transparency with respect to the food they eat. An effort that would allow us to enjoy the same consumer rights as the citizens in 50 countries around the world including the European Union, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. In some of these countries, GMO food is completely banned, in others, it has to be labelled. They have the right to know, why don’t we?
Here are a few facts to consider. According to the NON GMO Project, in the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Yes, that’s right: 80%. That’s because they contain ingredients derived from some of the highest-risk crops such as canola (~ 90% of U.S. crop), corn (~ 88% of U.S. crop), cotton (~ 90% of U.S. crop), papaya (most of hawaiian crops), soy (~ 94% of U.S. crop), sugar beets (~ 95% of U.S. crop), zucchini and yellow summer squash (~ 95% of U.S. crop) and alfalfa (GMO first planted in 2011). Derivatives of these crops include the following ingredients commonly found on your label of conventional processed food: amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, vitamin C, citric acid, sodium citrate, ethanol, 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. And that is just to name a few.
What can we do? Not lose hope. And see this as a step in the right direction toward consumers holding food companies accountable for what they sell and starting to include GMO in the discussion regarding the health and safety of our food supply. We have to take this fight further and show Washington that we care about GMOs.
picture courtesy of the NON GMO Project.