I’ve done some of this research in the past and I have a science, research and data background. I have also had the time and opportunity to sift through volumes of often contradictory information on whether or not, from a scientific standpoint, Genetically Engineered, or GE, or more commonly, GMO foods are safe for human consumption, and if there present a risk to the environment. Not an easy question to answer given the rapid rise and windfall profits in GE crops. Here is a graphic from the USDA that puts the investment aspect of GMO crops in perspective.
In only two decades the number of planted acres of GMO foods has gone from only about 10%, largely experimental fields, to almost 90% of planted acres. Contrast that with the average 12 years it takes for a drug to make through the FDA’s approval process. The first GE produce, a tomato was approved for market in 1994, but the literature on whether or not GMOs are healthy for human consumption falls largely into two camps: Business and science. As for government, they seem to fall heavily to the business camp. Does that have anything at all with what is essentially a revolving door between employees of the FDA, the federal government and Monsanto?
Even assessing the science can be a daunting task. Many of those studies are unreliable because they are linked to or funded by corporations themselves. Those links and that funding is often not apparent and many times not easily revealed. The stakes are massive. In the first quarter of 2016 Monsanto, just one of many companies marketing GE crops, reported sales of better than a billion Dollars. While that was down from the previous year by almost a half billion Dollars, due to a weak economy and cutbacks by farmers, it illustrates the immense resources alternative voices face in attempting to counterbalance intense and sustained marketing paraded as science to the American public. That marketing has a near total monopoly in delivering its message via a corporatized mass media.
Arguing against what clearly amounts to a confusion of science and marketing is difficult by the industry’s designs, but there are clearly issues with GMO’s that not even the industry’s funding and efforts can shake. For example, not even the GMO industry has been able to argue against insect and animals adaptations and mutations due to GE crops. The industry failed to predict those adaptations and mutations, which would tend to seriously question the environmental safety and viability of GE products, not to mention potential risks to human beings. That should sound a loud and clear warning bell to law makers and the public, but that argument is often squandered in unproductive debates using confusing and often partisan data, if that data isn’t completely buried by the industry and the media.
In a recent conversation Environmental and Gardening activist and talk show host, Mike Nowak, (Sunday’s 9-11am on Que4 Radio in Chicago or at www.mikenowak.net) said he tends to avoid the scientific question, instead focusing on the labelling issue. The labelling issue is the industry’s Achilles heel, much more than the science argument. The labelling issue is one that Monsanto and others cannot adequately refute. The labelling issue ultimately strikes at the core of the industry’s marketing science.
The argument against labelling foods made with GMOs is indefensible. For an industry that promoted itself upon market ethics, and that the free market should be allowed to decide, Monsanto and others have shown that they do not abide by their own dictates. The effort to prevent consumers from making value and informed decisions about the food they purchase and consume calls into question everything the industry, lawmakers, the media and the FDA would have us believe about the safety of GE foods.
There is, however, an end run around the resistance to labelling foods made using GMOs. Some companies, such as bread made and marketed under the Aunt Millie’s Best Grains brand are labelling their breads as “Non-GMO.” In fact, a whole industry has begun to spring up identifying themselves as non-GMO food brands. I have listed a few below from the “GMO Free Food List” at nourishedkitchen.com. Visit them for the full list:
- Annie’s Naturals: Manufacturer of BBQ sauce, salad dressings and other condiments sourced from gmo-free ingredients.
- San J: GMO-free manufacturer of soy sauce, shoyu and tamari.
- Tradition Miso: Manufacturer of miso pastes that are made from GMO-free ingredients.
- Barbara’s Bakery: Manufacturer of cookies sources from gmo-free ingredients.
- Lundberg Family Farms: GMO-free provider of rice and wild rice foods including raw rice, soups and convenience foods.
- Walkers: Provider of the best shortbread cookies ever as well as other sweet treats.
- Fantastic Foods: Provider of hummus, falafel, risotto couscous, soup and other mixes with gmo-free ingredients.
- Vitasoy: Manufacturer of soy-based foods sourced from gmo-free ingredients.
- Clif: Manufacturer of energy bars sourced from gmo-free foods.
- Kettle Chips: GMO-free manufacturer of potato and tortilla chips.
- Que Pasa: Manufacturer of tortilla chips and other Mexican foods sourced from non-gmo ingredients.
- Garden of Eatin: Manufacturer of chips, salsas and other snack foods.