Mexico has just been added to the list of countries and regions across the world to ban GMOs (genetically modified organisms), banning GMO corn, citing ‘risk of imminent harm to the environment’. Also last week, Hawaii gave preliminary approval to a bill that would ban the growing of GMOs (unfortunately excluding their GMO papayas) and prohibit biotech companies from operating there; along with the island of Kauai, which passed a law that mandates farms to disclose pesticide use and the presence of genetically modified crops, requiring a 500-foot buffer zone near medical facilities, schools and homes, among other locations.¹
On 5th November, the final ballots will be cast for Initiative 522 in Washington state, which would mandate the labeling of genetically modified foods. If the bill is passed, many more states will follow, with 25 states already discussing GMO-related legislation.² Monsanto and the junk food industry have poured over 17 million dollars to try to defeat the bill, which they were successful in doing in California last year with Proposition 37 after spending 46 million dollars on a misleading advertising campaign. However, 93 percent of Americans are in favour of knowing what’s in their food and 64 countries already require the labelling of GMOs³ so it won’t be long before there is an end to the deception. The companies’ desperate efforts to try to defeat the labelling of genetically engineered foods, sends a clear message that they don’t want people to know that they are harmful to our health.
For twenty years biotech companies have marketed their genetically modified seeds with promises of higher yields and less pesticide use but GMO crops have turned out to be a devastation for farmers, requiring massive doses of herbicides and pesticides with their creation of superweeds and insect resistance, as well as higher costs. Hopefully these failures along with the growing demand for the right to know what consumers are eating, we are reaching the end of the war against GMOs.
Update: On 5th November 2013, Initiative 522 to label genetically engineered food in Washington state was defeated by just two percent after Monsanto and major food corporations spent an extra five million dollars at the last minute on deceiving advertisements, making it a total of over 22 million dollars and breaking the record for the most money raised opposing a ballot initiative in Washington. In the words of David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the initiative’s biggest donor, however, ‘Win or lose, this is a long war. Labeling is inevitable.’
1. Robbins O, Huge GMO News. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com. [19 October 2013].
2. Organic Consumers Association 2013, Legislative Update: 25 States Working on GMO Labeling Laws. Available from: http://www.organicconsumers.org. [3 April 2013].
3. Robbins O, Huge GMO News. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com. [19 October 2013].