This week I became aware that the GMA (Grocery Manufactures Association), which is known as the “Big Food” organization which represents companies such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, ConAgraFoods, Bayer CropScience, as well as more than 300 others, is petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) as “natural” and to block states from requiring GMO labels. Both Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require products with GMO in them to be labeled as such. “Big Food” wants to block the FDA’s ability to give us a right to know if our food contains GMOs.
A representative from the Environmental Working Group told The New York Times that the association’s request is “audacious.” The Center for Food Safety is also appalled. “There is nothing natural about genetic engineering,” said Colin O’Neil, the center’s government affairs director. “Genetic engineering, by its very definition, is not a natural process. It is an artificial and novel process, which often involves inserting foreign (often bacterial) genetic material into a food plant, crop or animal. The U.S. Patent Office has granted numerous patents on genetically engineered plants, finding that they and novel elements in them are not naturally occurring.”
According to FDA policy, food labels can’t be false or misleading. A reasonable consumer would not expect foods labeled “natural” to contain GE ingredients. As such, labeling GE foods with the word “natural” would be exceptionally misleading to consumers.”
According to “Big Foods” there is nothing unsafe about genetically engineered foods. But then I have to wonder why, if that is the case, they want to hide it? Since about 93% of all processed foods we eat contains some type of GMO, maybe that is true. On the other hand, this has been going on for quite some time and there are more and more diseases and health problems that our citizens face today. Could these bio-engineered foods be the cause? Big Food is spending billions of dollars trying to keep the public in the dark about what we are eating. Could it be because people are starting to become more concerned and aware of what they are eating? In 2013, 10% of all grocery sales were labeled “natural” and 5% of grocery sales were organic. Starting in 2018,Whole Foods will require all products containing GMOs to be labeled as such. I feel strongly that we should be able to decide for ourselves what ingredients we want to consume. If you don’t care what ingredients are in your food, that is great for you. But if you do care, why should you be kept in the dark about what you want to put into your body? You should have the right to know so that you can make decisions that work best for you. More than 90% of Americans say they want to know, but unless we let our representatives know how we feel, Big Foods will win and we will be at their mercy. Big Foods is working diligently to be able to label GMO foods as “natural”, but on the other hand, they don’t want to label their GMO foods as containing GMO. It sounds like they want to have their cake and eat it too.
Below are two links. If you click on the first link you will get to the Environmental Working Group site. Click on the “Take Action” button on the top right. Then click on the center action item that says “Don’t let Big Food hide the truth about GE foods!” That will take you to a petition to sign telling your representative to oppose Big Food’s proposal. The second link is for further information on this subject.