Fierce Fight Over GMOs in California
As we have previously reported, the Grocer Manufacturers Association, big agriculture and chemical companies want Americans to stay in the dark about GMOs in the food they eat – and are spending close to $1 million a day on "No on Prop 37" ads across California.
The proposition, California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would require disclosure of GMO ingredients on foods.
Advocates for GMO labeling are being out-spent 10 to 1. Although there are few ads for the presidential race in California, we hear people are deluged by ads that seek to misinform them about GMO labeling.
The man in charge of the opposition's message is Henry Miller, who for years, successfully delayed action on constraining sales of cigarrettes by debunking the link between tobacco products and cancer.
Some of more about him:
And Miller is having an impact. While early polls showed overwhelming support for passage of GMO labeling, more recent ones show that the vote is in a dead heat - and advertising is intensing as election day nears.
Download the GMO Food App
Fooducate has added a feature to its nutrition app that exposes GMOs in foods.
Here's how it works. Using the built-in camera on their phone, a shopper scans the barcode on the product he or she wants to research. The Fooducate application uses the barcode to retrieve basic nutrition ratings (expressed in a letter grade such as A, B, C) based on factors such as excessive sugars, hidden transfats and questionable additives.
If you turn on the GMO feature - "Warn me about GMOs" - it will characterize the level of GMO content in a product's ingredients:
- "Non-GMO" - designates foods that are known to be clear of it
- "GMO-High Probability" is used for products that are likely to contain GMOs, especially those with high concentrations of corn and soy
- "GMO-Medium Probability" is used for items that contain other potential GMOs, such as beets
The app also lists non-GMO alternatives to the product.
If you don't use a smartphone, you can do the same research at Fooducate's Web site, where you would also download the app.
No GMOs on National Wildlife Refuges
It's hard to believe that people have had to fight over GMO crops being planted in our National Wildlife Refuges, but at least there's a win on this one.
A federal judge ruled the Fish and Wildlife Service must stop allowing these crops to be planted in Refuges in the southeast US, which includes 10 states.
The Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sued the government, pointing to the environmental harm to beneficial insects, the increase in herbicide-resistant weeds, altered soil ecology and genetic contamination of natural plants.
The most common GMO crops planted have been corn and soybeans that resist Monsanto's herbicide Roundup.
The government responded by saying that planting will stop at the end of this year and won't be allowed again until there's an appropriate environmental analysis for the region.
Two similar lawsuits have also blocked the practice in the Northeast.
Americans Eat More Than Their Weight in GMO Food
Americans eat an average of 193 pounds of GMO foods every year, more than a typical adult weighs at 179 pounds, concludes an analysis by the Environmental Working Group.
"What's shocking is that Americans are eating so much genetically engineered food, yet there have been zero long-term studies done by the federal government or industry to determine if its consumption could pose a risk health," says Renee Sharp, lead author of the report.. "If you were planning on eating your body weight of anything in a year or feeding that much food to your family, wouldn't you first want to know if long-term government studies and monitoring have shown it is safe?"
EWG used US Department of Agriculture 2011 data about per-capita consumption of four foods commonly derived from genetically engineered crops: sugar; corn-based sweeteners; salad oil and corn products. They compared that with separate USDA data showing that 95% of sugar beets, 93% of soybeans and 88% of corn grown in the US are genetically engineered.
The analysis probably underestimates the true quantity of GMO food Americans really eat because it doesn't include canola oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, yellow squash and soy, says EWG.
And the study doesn't assess the environmental implications of GMOs. Planting genetically engineered crops has increased pesticide use by more than 300 million pounds per year in the US, they estimate, while leading to the proliferation of pesticide-resistant superweeds and superbugs.
Learn more about California's misinformation campaign: