Labeling Provides Solution to Nation-Wide Skepticism of Ill Effects of GMOs

As a vital necessity in maintaining life, it comes to no surprise that food has become a hot topic in the United States.   As of late, a trend in food and health awareness has resulted in nation-wide skepticism regarding the country’s food supply and the questionable means by which food is being produced.  Through genetic engineering, GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are genetically altered foods created to possess the efficacy to solve tremendous issues like world hunger and malnutrition.  Although seemingly remarkably beneficial, GMOs lack evidence supporting their overall safety.  Despite this troubling fact, the government has allowed GMOs to plague about 80% of the nations food supply, suggesting no regard for human health among the public.  Consequently, “NON-GMO” is the fastest growing health and wellness movement that has narrowed its efforts on the push for nation-wide food labeling.   As a target of blame for adverse effects on the environment, being the source for the rise of allergies and the introduction of new diseases and as a clear example of exploitation of power and mishandling of government responsibility, GMOs need to be labeled until the American people are provided with scientific evidence that proves otherwise. 

Although GMO’s made their first appearance in the mid-1990’s, some of the characteristics that foods are genetically altered to possess are now proving to impact the environment in a negative way.  In a recent article for USA Today, Jolie Lee addressed this issue by explaining; “one of the supposed benefits of GMO’s is that they should result in less herbicide spraying since some plants have been [genetically] modified to be herbicide resistant.  However, over-reliance on these crops as has led to the emergence of “super weeds” that are also more resistant to herbicides, requiring increased spraying [of herbicides].”  The same phenomenon is occurring with crops genetically altered to be resistant to insecticides, resulting in “super insects” that is requiring more insecticide spraying.  The increasing use of these harmful chemicals means increasing damage to the environment.  According to an article on Food Safety News, Charles Benbrook believes that these growing changes “pose serious risk assessment challenges that are, for the most part, being ignored by the industry and regulatory authorities.”  Are the possible health risks to humans being ignored, as well?  Many believe so.  No long-term studies were conducted on the effects of GMOs on the environment, and now harmful changes are taking place.  Many believe that if they aren’t given the information needed to avoid GMOs, they may experience a similar fate.  If food companies were forced to label GMOs, the public would be given the opportunity to protect themselves from unpredictable adverse effects.  This is a very reasonable, pre-cautionary request considering the government hasn’t provided the public with long-term, scientific evidence proving GMOs safe for human consumption.

Since the US made the switch from country-filled, small organic farms to massive, genetically modified crop fields, in order to feed our ever-growing population, it seems that the importance of food quality has been replaced with the importance of food quantity.  The reckless introduction of GMOs into the nation’s food supply without properly testing its safety is a prime example.  Ill health effects of GMOs are believed to come in unpredictable, hard to detect side effects like unknown diseases, allergies, organ failure and sterility—all issues that can be attributed to environmental or genetic factors.  Without scientific research proving that GMOs are safe to eat, people have no way of knowing if GMOs are causing health problems or not.  Adding the genes of foreign organisms into crops yields the possibility of a rise in allergies or the introduction of new allergies, causing great concern among the public.  According to the Institute for Responsible Technology’s writer, Jeffery M. Smith,  “The introduction of genetically engineered foods into our diet was done quietly and without the mandatory labeling that is required in most other industrialized countries.  Without knowing what GM foods might increase the risk of allergies, and without knowing which foods contain GM ingredients, the Biotech industry is gambling with our health for their profit.”  Examples of the “other industrialized countries” that Smith addresses include 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China—and these are only a fraction of the total 64 countries that require labeling.  This fact raises a big question: Why is it that the American people are denied the same rights that citizens of many other countries are granted?   There is a chance that the food the American public is eating and feeding their children with, is harmful.  So, why are they being denied the opportunity to take avoidable measures?   Questionable concerns like this alongside the ill-advised decisions concerning the welfare of the American people are causing distrust in government authorities across the nation.  

Although the release of GMO’s into the American food supply has created an unpredictable response from nature resulting in damaging effects on the environment and has resulted in nation-wide fears on the possible unpredictable ill effects on public health, the government isn’t doing much about it.  Understandably, GMO safety and harms cannot be proven because of the unethical nature of a human clinical trial.  However, GMO labeling could provide the scientific data needed to prove GMO effects on humans—by comparing the health of those who avoid GMO foods, and those who don’t.   In an article on the Huffington Post, Carole Bartolotto wrote, “We need GMO labeling so we can do the epidemiological studies that are essential to determine their risk.  Without long-term data—in humans—no one can make the claim that GMO’s are proven safe.”  Labeling would give the American people information that they can use to protect their health and has the potential of providing real, scientific data on its effects on humans—so why are Food and biotech giants spending billions of dollars in Anti-GMO label lobbying?  More importantly, why is the government overlooking the possible benefits of GMO labeling and refusing to follow through with public demands?   According to many government officials, it is because labeling would create a skepticism that would turn people away from GMO’s—ultimately destroying their potential to solve the major problems, we face today.  Still, the American people aren’t convinced that this reasoning outweighs government responsibility to secure public health. 

In a recent article on the Huffington Post, Michael McAuliff boldly states that the government isn’t moving forward with public demands for GMO labeling because congress believes that “Americans are too stupid for GMO labeling.”  In the article, McAullif quotes many representatives in his case to prove that members of congress believe that, “Americans are just too ignorant to be given a piece of information”.  For example, included was Rep. Ted Yoho’s statement that, “even using long scientific-sounding words make it sound like it’s been grown in a test tube, and people get scared of it.” It seems that the government’s fears of the consequences of the people’s fears, is what’s stopping GMO labeling and it’s potential life-altering benefits.   Did the government forget that they have not provided the people with scientific studies to back their claims that GMO’s are safe?   Whether GMO’s spiral into a downward abyss of extinction or not, taking huge food and Biotech giants like Tyson and Monsanto down with it, the people deserve the right to take avoidable measures to protect themselves and their families until GMO’s are proven safe for human consumption.  It seems that the country’s representatives have forgotten many important things—like whom they are supposed to be representing.

Polls conducted by professional news organizations like the Washington Post and MSNBC consistently show that over 90% of consumers want GM ingredients labeled.  This means that barely more than a third of the American people believes that GMO’s are safe to eat.    Without evidence of GMO safety, how can you blame this nation-wide skepticism? The nation’s people are being denied the right to know what they are putting into their bodies; what they are feeding their families—their children.  Through inaction, the government has revealed that the welfare of huge food and biotech companies is more important than the welfare of it’s own people.   Interesting, that all of these issues rose from the idea of a little label under a packaged food item’s ingredients reading: “Partially produced with genetic engineering.”  Henry Kissinger once said, “If you control the food, you control the people.”  It is time for the people to take back the control.  Start gardening and growing your own GMO-free foods, purchase organic foods from grocery stores and continue the fight for transparency in our nation’s food supply.  It is our right, as the backbone of this country, to fight for our health and happiness.



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