Found at: https://www.bozo.coop
An Editorial From Your Co-op
Do you believe in the right-to-know what you are putting in your body? Want to avoid certain things like sodium, MSG or high fructose corn syrup? Read the label. They’ll be listed. What about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Too bad for you.
That’s right, you could be (and, if you are consuming any conventional products, most likely already are), getting your daily dose of GMOs, without even knowing it.
It seems that our nation’s regulatory agencies have decided that consumers do not have the right to know when they are consuming GMO products, made clear by not enforcing mandatory labeling.
And, our current administration seems to be upholding that mode of operations with a rash of recent decisions in support of the biotech industry, particularly Monsanto.
In just two short months, GMOs have gone wild: In January 2011 the USDA fully deregulated GE alfalfa and most recently, in February 2011, resumed the partial deregulation of GE sugar beets and approved GE bio-fuel corn.
Now, the organic industry and its supporters stand by as the floodgates have been opened and genetically engineered seeds are ready to be planted in fields throughout the U.S., including here in Montana.
These are decisions that have supporters of the biotech industry rejoicing even more victories for big agriculture. However, with these decisions, looms an immense threat to the entire organic industry and organic label.
You see, until now, those of you looking to avoid GMOs, could simply buy organic foods. Despite what side of the fence you sit on, by law, organic certification doesn’t allow for GMOs (or, less than 5%). However, with the OK to commercially plant GE alfalfa and sugar beets, those waters have become a lot muddier.
And, be sure to stay tuned for Frankenfish. GE salmon, the first genetically modified animal in the U.S. (yes, we’ve moved onto living, breathing things), may be right around the corner.
According to the Center For Food Safety, over 400,000 comments from individuals, fishers, organizations, and food companies opposing the introduction of GE salmon. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to approve the GE AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon for human consumption any day now.
Not interested in pledging your allegiance to Round-Up Ready pesticide, the global homogenization of our seed supply or freakishly-fast growing salmon? Furious that your right-to-know what you are consuming is not being adhered to? Plenty of your fellow consumers, and your Co-op, would agree with you.
According the Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey, “U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009.” And, the report notes that despite the economic recession, organic foods experienced a 5.3% increase in 2009, compared to just 1.6% in total food sales.
It’s evident that consumers are increasingly demanding food and wellness products that are free of chemicals and pesticides. We are voting with our dollars.
Beyond labeling, the very existence of organic food is threatened. Why? A big concern is cross-contamination. Alfalfa is one of the largest crops grown in our country and is used primarily for feeding cattle. It also spreads very easily, making it challenging (if not impossible) to insure organic beef and dairy cattle are not munching on GM products.
As if that weren’t enough, the USDA gave Roundup Ready GM sugar beets the go-ahead to be planted this spring. This decision was made despite a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that an environmental impact statement (EIS) should be completed before deregulating the sugar beet seed.
And, the measure was supported by Montana’s U.S. Sen. Max Baucus. According to an article in the Sidney Herald, Sen. Baucus wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack encouraging the partial deregulation before the EIS was set to be completed in May 2012.
He was quoted in the article as saying, “This news means Montana sugar beet farmers have the certainty they need to move forward. It’s important that the USDA complete its study, but our producers were being unfairly asked to wait in limbo as the planting season quickly approaches.”
Hey Max, what does this mean for eaters?
But, here’s the kicker: even if the USDA is penalized or the EIS suggests not planting GE sugar beets, the seeds will already be in the ground.
Furious? We think you should be.
Now is the time to show your support for organic food and accurate and transparent product labeling:
Sign A PetitionGE Alfalfa
Tell U.S. Dairies You Don’t Want GE Alfalfa
Just Say No To Frankenfish
Send a Letter to the Editors of Your Local Papers About the Introduction of GE Salmon
GE Sugar Beets
Stop Monsanto’s GE Sugar
Tell Congress to Support Labeling and Safety Testing of GE Foods
Contact Your LegislatorsMany organizations are calling on consumers to express their views with legislators and we encourage you to contact our Montana legislators and share your views.