Sunday, October 28, 2012

Support Labelling for Genetically Modified Foods

On November 6, 2012, California voters will be voting on Proposition 37.  Proposition 37, if passed, would require food labeling for genetically modified foods.  A ‘yes’ vote would favor the new food labeling laws.

The European Union as well as Japan and Australia require genetically modified organisms (GMO) foods to be labeled.  What is wrong with informing us what is in the food we are buying? 

You can guess who is against the labeling of GMO foods.  Big food companies such as Kellogg Co., Monsanto, Dupont, Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Coco-Cola, Nestle, General Mills, H.J. Heinz, Hershey, and Ocean Spray have donated millions of dollars to convince voters to vote ‘no’. 

It is unbelievable that food manufacturers are not required to label what is in their products.    Did you know that approximately 93% of the soybeans, 90% of canola and 88% of corn grown in the U.S. are from genetically modified (GM) crops?  The question to think about is, “Is there anything wrong with GM crops? 

Soy has been genetically modified to withstand the herbicide Roundup.  GM soy plants are resistant to Roundup.  Therefore, crops of GM soy crops can be sprayed with copious amounts of Roundup to kill weeds and enhance the yield.  Unfortunately, the final product containing this GM soy also contains the herbicide Roundup. 

As a medical doctor, I would highly advise you not to ingest any amount of Roundup if you can avoid it.  That sentence is stated with some sarcasm as you don’t need to be a medical doctor to understand that eating herbicides is probably not a good thing.   

A recent study showed that rats fed a lifetime of genetically modified corn suffered tumors and damage to multiple organs. (1)  GM corn is also resistant to Roundup and it is widely used on GM corn crops.  As I previousely stated, 88% of U.S. corn crops are genetically modified.  The pictures below showed tumors that rats developed from eating trace amounts (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) of Roundup.  Furthermore, rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage to the liver and kidneys.  It is important to note that the GM corn used in this study is produced at Monsanto and is widely used across the U.S.  The end product of this GM corn is readily available in many consumer products including cereals and chips.

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to eat food that has herbicides in it.  And, I would also like to know if the food I am buying is genetically modified.  Unfortunately, our government doesn’t see it this way as food companies are not required to list GM ingredients on food labels.  This is yet another example of our government not working for us.  If the government worked for us, it would be a no-brainer to properly label GM-containing products so that we, the consumers, can decide whether we want to ingest those products. 
However, we have a chance to win one if California voters pass Proposition 37.  There is absolutely no reason not to pass it---we are just asking for transparency in food labels.  It this passes in California, proper food labeling will eventually come to the rest of the country.    

I have donated money to the Organic Consumers Fund in support of this bill.  Monsanto and other companies, who do not want labeling of GM foods, have been blitzing California with ads against this proposition.  I encourage you to consider donating to the Organic Consumers Fund to fight back.  You can go here to find more information:  I have no financial obligations with this group.


(1) Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):706-726


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