Would you rather feed your kids food engineered by nature or Monsanto? Since more than 80% of processed food contains GMO’s, having a choice means it must be labeled. However, when former Congressman Jim Bates asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to label GMO’s the Secretary responded: “I have talked to my staff about labeling genetically engineered food. They said it wasn’t a good idea, because if we did that, the public might become concerned.”
There’s good reason to be concerned. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s own scientists expressed extensive warnings about genetically engineered food. But genetically engineered organisms weren’t invented when the U.S. Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (which requires labeling for everything else) was written. When genetically engineered crops came to market in 1992, the F.D.A. decided labeling would be unnecessary, because it had already determined that they were the same (‘substantively equivalent’) as conventional crops. Of course, this begs the question: If there wasn’t any diffference, then why were they genetically engineered . . ?
As a result of overwhelming public support in more than 30 states, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. This legislation stipulates that all food containing genetically engineered organisms must be labeled. According to Congressman Peter Defazio, one of the bill’s authors, “Food manufactures have a duty to disclose what is in our food.” For House Bill #913 and Senate Bill #511 to be voted into law, your representatives must hear from you on May 1st. Regardless of whether or not this is the person you voted for, and regardless of their politics, they represent you in Congress – and this is where the issue will be decided. Who do you suppose they listen to if they don’t hear from you?
You often hear the expression ‘vote with your dollars.’ Every time you purchase organic food, you are supporting family farms who grow it, the supply chain that delivers it to the aisle where you buy food – and the values that sustain them. The same applies to the well being and progress of our country. You must invest a little time and attention to tell law-makers, who are elected to act on your behalf, what you think and what you want. You are the strongest link in the chain. Everything you value requires holding your elected representatives accountable to you. If your Senators or Congressperson have already co-sponsored this legislation, it’s important to call and thank them for their support. Remember that the power is in your hands – you are the force that governs a great nation!