Only minutes ago we learned that the US House of Representatives voted to pass the ironically (or cynically) titled Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. This measure has been called by people who really support accurate food labels called the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. (The actually vote tally can be found at this site, which also tells which representatives voted for it and which did not.)
The discrepancies lie in whether or not you believe that people have a right to know what is in their food. This act repeals all local laws on labeling in favor of a non-existent Federal law that will never be implemented by at least 275 representatives are bought and paid for by the bio-tech industry. There is no other reason to deny Americans the rights enjoyed in most of the first world as regards the ingredients in our food. This is an outrage against the American process and a travesty against the American people. In the past, pre-internet, perhaps such a vote could be swept under the rug, but hopefully today, we have enough people who understand the severity of the problem to push back - to make this vote too expensive to justify.
This was pretty discouraging news. It was a blow to so many people who believe that genetically engineered food has already come too far, too fast, with too little oversight and find this race to stuff it down our throats without telling us about it is misguided and plain stupid.
"Well it's safe," we are told. The only source for such assurance of safety are from the manufacturers who have a financial (big financial) stake in this stuff making back some of the millions of dollars they have invested in it. The biggest player in this market is Monsanto. You are aware, of course, that Monsanto made PCBs and lied about their safety. You are aware, as well, that Monsanto created DDT and lied about it's safety. They were complicit in Agent Orange - and you'll recall their were heinous side effects in that. So this is the company that is saying it's safe. The US governmental agencies, when they say it's safe and only taking Monsanto (and the rest of them) at their word. There is no independent US governmental testing here. I'd like to point out, that even after poisoning the world with DDT and PCBs, Monsanto continued to do business and continued to make money and was not fined or aggressively prosecuted in any of those events. So "it's safe" to Monsanto doesn't mean a thing to us. ALL those tests we hear about on genetically modified plants were done by scientists, directly or indirectly, on payrolls supplied by the biotech industry.
And, if you'll allow a digression, in not one of the campaigns for labeling did you hear the anti-labeling forces say any good things about genetically engineered foods. Their campaigns against labeling were frauds based on some study that said the labeling laws would raise the cost of food by $250 a year - then after the election we find out what we suspected was true - it was a phony think tank, a phony study and they paid the electoral fine for being a liar and walked away with a victory. In campaigns through out the west, we say state's laws on campaign finance blatantly disregarded and flaunted without a flinch and the fines paid without a whimper as they walked away with another victory.
You can easily see why one would think Congress was simply bought. Anyone who has taken an objective look at the process of genetically altered food and how it is grown does not think it's a solution to any real problem in the world - in fact, it actively contributes to the problems in the world. Genetically altered plants, provably, use more water, more pesticides, more fertilizers (both of the latter are dependent on oil), create more groundwater pollution and are horrifically anti-environment (Iowa and other centers of farming will soon be rendered worthless for growing crops because of the abuse of industrial farming and adding in genetically engineered plants is simply "industrial farming on steroids").
The problem is the whole world cannot be bought. Our markets abroad will continue to shrink as America imports organic corn from abroad to sustain those of us who will not eat genetically altered food at all and other countries continue to oppose any genetically engineered product for their people.
More Americans will read labels more closely and labels that simply say "corn, soy or sugar from beets" will not be purchased even if they don't have GMOs because those are the three crops that are mostly on the shelves of our super markets. We already as a matter of habit avoid all food grown in Hawaii because of that states poor health record on GMOs and pesticide spraying.
We believe that the only way to be food secure in any region is to be seed secure. We believe that seeds should never be patented and "owned" by any one - certainly not by a rapacious corporation. We believe that non-hybrid seeds should be saved by average citizens and these same citizens should be able to protect their seed from infection of genetically altered pollen. We believe it is immoral to own life - and seeds are alive. We believe we have to save the seeds that feed us and carry on the tradition of our ancestors in being keepers of the seed and allowing this diversity to persist and be passed on to our children.
We move on now to fight the DARK act in the Senate. There is little hope that, despite campaign pledges to the contrary, President Obama will veto this heinous crime of a bill against the American people. Please contact your senators at once and ask them to please vote no on HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.
Do it for yourself. Do it for your children. Do it for the environment. Do it for all of us.