What made you first become passionate about the issue of genetically engineered food, and advocating for mandatory labeling?
At Dr. Bronner’s we are passionate about organic agriculture, and are one of very few personal care companies whose entire product range is certified under USDA’s National Organic Program standards, the same program that certifies food. Organic versus conventional agriculture is about building soil health and tilth naturally and sustainably, without the petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers that destroy our soil and pollute our food, water and bodies.
While genetic engineering could be a beneficial technology in principle, as applied to agriculture it’s been a disaster. Far from freeing us from the chemical treadmill of conventional industrial agriculture, it’s now on steroids. Only two genetically engineered traits are in widespread commercial use: herbicide resistance, so that huge amounts of herbicide can be sprayed on food crops, and crops that produce their own insecticide. Both have the entirely foreseeable effect of exerting massive selection pressure on weeds and pests to develop resistance, much like overdosing factory farmed densely confined animals with antibiotics is causing resistance in virulent strains of bacteria. Pesticide use has predictably skyrocketed as weeds and pests gain resistance, which is great for the giant chemical companies that engineer the seeds to resist their chemicals and sell the chemicals, but not for anybody else.