On Nov. 5, citizens in Washington State will vote on whether to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. Win or lose, The Washington Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is driving the national push on GMO labeling in states around the country as well as at the federal level -- just as the narrowly defeated Prop 37 in California did last year. My family's company has donated over 2.3 million dollars to this cause because a win in Washington State will lead to national labeling. Whether you live in Washington, or elsewhere in the U.S., this is a food fight that affects all of us.
Here's five reasons why myself, my family, and Dr. Bronner's as a company have gotten on our soapbox for GMO labeling, and you should too.
1) We have the right to know. It's really simple. Contrary to the misleading rhetoric and propaganda espoused by chemical companies like Monsanto and Dow that portrays GMO labeling on food packaging as costly and unnecessary, the truth is we have the right to know important information about our food, and such disclosures on packaging cost virtually nothing. We have the right to know whether juice is from concentrate or not; whether ingredients are artificial or not; whether fish is farmed or wild-caught. We also have the right to know if food is genetically engineered, in order to make informed decisions about what we eat and feed our families.
2) Genetic engineering of food crops is a pesticide industry boondoggle. Just six chemical companies have bought and now control the seed industry in this country, and their interest is to increase -- not reduce -- agchemical inputs. Chemical companies genetically engineer DNA from bacteria into food crops, causing the crops to either produce or tolerate the pesticides they sell. Overuse of pesticide is creating resistant superweeds and superbugs, which leads to more pesticides being sprayed. Now, chemical companies like Monsanto and Dow are engineering resistance in food crops to increasingly toxic weed killers like Dicamba and 2,4-D, the main ingredient in Agent Orange (which, coincidentally, both Monsanto and Dow also manufactured). Pesticide Action Network is a great resource on the link between GMOs and pesticides, and the next generation weed killer tolerant crops in the regulatory pipeline. Even The Wall Street Journal has reported on the recent spike in insecticide use.