GMOs and Labeling

studentvoices01By Joseph Centeno Cid Jr.
LCC-Wai’anae student
April 2013
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae instructor – English 100

[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients,’ the second essay will be a persuasive essay ‘arguing for (or against) labeling foods with GMO ingredients.'” -Danny Wyatt]

The subject of Genetically Modified Organisms has boomed since Proposition 37 denied in November 2012 in California. Since then, GMO has become one of the biggest topics talked about in the United States. Why are GMO crops so bad though? According to studies, GMO crops are to blame for some of the diseases that attack human’s immune system (Grout, Genetic Roulette). With attacks on our immune system, human beings’ body react with symptoms such as allergies and conditions like autism. Thus, this alarms the nation and petrifies people causing them to be cautious about what they  should consume. People don’t know which foods in grocery stores containing GMOs. Thus forcing the nation to rise against GMOs by pushing for laws that label foods in stores that contain GMOs. With such actions, people will have the right to choose what they want to purchase thus exposing the wrong doings of GMO companies such as Monsanto. But why hasn’t it happened yet?

Genetically Modified Organisms are the result of “forcing” genes of one species into another (Smith, Genetic Roulette). GMOs were first introduced in the early 1990’s and they have posed a threat since. One of the biggest and most common genetically modified crops is those containing herbicides and pesticides. This is when scientists take Bacillus Thuringiensis, also known as Bt toxin, and input it into crops to kill insects without the trouble of using insecticides (Smith, Genetic Roulette). Herbicides are similar, but use a chemical known as glyphosate instead which kills weeds thus ruling out the use of as much Roundup, at least initially (Smith, Genetic Roulette). Monsanto’s main intention is supposed to be positive. Their promises with GMOs are to increase yields, farmer profits and US exports, yet none of these has occurred since GMO crops have been introduced. With such intentions, Monsanto’s main goal along with those promises was to completely replace all natural and organic seeds with genetically modified seeds (Witherspoon, Genetic Roulette). That would be a total abomination, especially with the  trend in bad health conditions attributed to GMOs. Just imagine what the future would hold if every crop were genetically modified.

Allergies are typically something very minor to most. Some may think they’re suffering from just a common cold or itch, but to others allergies can be life threatening. When people find out they are allergic to specific foods, they stay completely away from those foods and just stick to the foods they normally eat to avoid more allergic reactions. It’s already as hard for people to avoid food they’re allergic to, but just imagine if they start developing allergies to almost every food that they consume.  Worse still, people are having allergic reactions to food they’ve been eating for years without having any reactions. It is misleading because these people have grown accustomed to the food they have been eating for years since they had no allergic reaction to it before. With people developing allergic reactions to their food, they turn to a solution, which is turning to organic food thus coming up with the assumption that the food they are now allergic to contains GMOs. Why would they suddenly assume this though? It’s probably because of the current uproar against foods in stores that contain GM crops. It also brings upon the concerns by specialists like Ashley Koff and Emily Lindler. Koff and Emily then suggest to their patients to start consuming organic foods as a result of their allergic reactions to GMO foods (Genetic Roulette).

At least allergies can be cured, or at least controlled, within a short period of time, but a condition like autism is permanent. Autism is most common in  youngsters, which makes it a giant concern for most parents since parents want to take every precaution to avoid it in their child. Autism is a very harsh condition especially for the  young, but just imagine if 4 out of 5 children develop  autism, and the reason for this could be GM foods. According to Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, Don Huber, he has spoken to an autistic doctor; they discussed how livestock that are being fed GMO crops are showing symptoms of autistic spectrum disorder  similar to children with autism (Genetic Roulette). Therefore, the consumption of GM foods appears to be promoting autistic spectrum disorder in both livestock and children. Just like the health specialists who take care of the allergies caused by GM foods, parents also eliminate the consumption of GM foods to help suppress autism in their children.

Allergic reactions and autism are not as threatening as the side effects of consuming the crops and products that contain herbicides and pesticides. The chemicals and toxins in both herbicides and pesticides are only meant for controlling weeds and insects.  Since crops treated with both herbicides and pesticides are harmful to certain living organisms, what would happen if humans consume GM foods made from these treated crops? When a human being consumes GM foods containing pesticides and herbicides, it destroys their internal system as well. Bt toxin is a natural substance that is involved in pesticides that kills bugs by exploding their stomachs, thus  leading to the relation that this may be the cause of the increase in “gastro intestinal problems,” according to doctors across the nation (Smith, Genetic Roulette). The side effects from consuming herbicides too are deadly for that they affect the nutrients  one can absorb. The key term “chelate” is used by Jeffrey Smith to describe what glyphosate does in crops (Genetic Roulette). Glyphosate’s role in herbicides is to gather up the trace minerals available to  a crop thus depriving them of nutrients needed to survive;  these are same exact symptoms that occur when humans consume GM foods that contain herbicides (Smith, Genetic Roulette). The most obvious solution to this would be to avoid GMO crops that are used to produce food that people consume. However, people don’t know which foods contain GMOs.

More and more people want to avoid purchasing GMO infested products as a result of GMOs being the reason to a massive number of horrifying health issues, but they are ill-educated about what ingredients that are from genetically modified plants. This only brings up the speculation of making it easier for customers by labeling foods in stores that contain GMO. According to a poll by Gary Hirshberg, 90 percent of the United States citizens feel that GMO products should be labeled, yet they have been “denied,” this right for 20 years (717). It is also said that organizations were formed such as “Just Label It,” and within a 180 day campaign, “Just Label It” obtained 1.2 million comments from the United States on a petition toward the FDA (Hirshberg, 717). With bringing this type of attention to the Monsanto Corporation and FDA, the government is one step closer to passing the Proposition 37 because of the opinion of the United States citizens.

But why is the nation continuously denied? It is because Monsanto’s former Vice President, Michael Turner, is now  a director in the FDA, which is the government agency that deals with food  safety (Smith, Genetic Roulette). With Turner  in the FDA, it is easy for them to  be selective of evidence that GM foods are a threat to humanity. Every bit of evidence has been gotten rid of and so will future evidence as well; and this is the reason why Proposition 37 has been denied many times. However, Monsanto being as powerful as they are, paid 8 million dollars to prevent the California law from passing (Stonebrook 256). It is an outrage, but that’s what happens when Monsanto’s former VP becomes a head  within the FDA who can make it possible. Monsanto was the main  contributor, but other companies added to the pot to prevent California’s Proposition 37 as well. Companies such as DuPont paid 5.4 million dollars as well as familiar companies like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Campbell’s Soup and many others contributed  too (Stonebrook 256). People would never think these companies would mean any harm, well think again.

GMOs are banned in more than 60 countries world-wide, so if they constitute no threat, why not label them (Goldstein A15) as suggested in a Letter to the Editor? GM foods have been proven for decades  to be related to not one, but countless health issues in the United States. Whether it’s autistic spectrum disorders, allergic reactions or digestion disorders, they are all harmful to human beings. The United States is best when it uses  its democratic solutions to come up with a consensus, so why not allow labeling so the nation could speak for itself against GMOs.

Sources:

Goldstein, Hesh. “GMOs are good? Then Label them.” Honolulu Star Advertiser. A15. 13 Mar. 2013.

McLure, Jason. “Genetically Modified Food.” CQ Researcher 31 Aug. 2012: 717-40. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

Genetic Roulette. Director. Smith, Jeffrey M. Issuetalk Communications. 2013. DVD

Stonebrook, Shelley. “Big Ag Defeats GMO-Labeling Proposition.” Mother Earth News 256 (2013): 16. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.

Labeling food: A Necessity or a Waste of Money?

studentvoices01By Elizabeth K. Samarripa
LCC-Wai’anae student
April 2013
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae instructor – English 100

[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients,’ the second essay will be a persuasive essay ‘arguing for (or against) labeling foods with GMO ingredients.'” -Danny Wyatt]

The requirement for labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become an increasingly heated debate across the United States where food labeling is not required as it is in many other countries. Just this week it was announced in the Honolulu Star Advertiser that a proposed state legislative bill calling for the requirement of disclosure labels on foods containing GMOs was shelved by three Senate committees. According to the committees on Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Health, the initial indication is that the bill be deferred because, according to the state Attorney General, requiring labeling could be ruled unconstitutional  by violating the First Amendment and federal Interstate Commerce and Labeling laws. As it now stands, the committee will ask several state groups to study the issue in greater detail and report the results (Zoellick 1).

There are three main reasons why people want all foods containing GMO ingredients to be labeled. One reason is that people want these foods labeled because they feel they have the right to know what it is they are consuming when they eat foods containing GMOs. Presently there are over 40 countries that require GMO labels, but not the U.S. where about 80% of foods made with corn or soy ingredients contain GMO ingredients. So at this time due to the lack of labeling, there is no way to know whether or not people are consuming GMOs and more and more Americans every day are taking a stand to demand they be informed what is in the foods to enable them to make a choice. At the heart of wanting the right to know is a great concern for potential health and environmental risks. Across the nation there are health advocacy groups that are also voicing their concern about the dangers to health from consuming GMOs.  For example, in California there is even a coalition called the Committee for the Right to Know that has initiated efforts to support labeling. In 2012, the Mellman Group, a consumer research company, completed a survey that supported the idea that consumers feel they have a right to know what is in the food they eat; the survey results show 91% of the survey in favor of labeling.

The second reason the people want required labeling is because of potential health risks; when people don’t know what they have been eating, it could be harming their health. According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), research based on animals and GM foods indicate serious health risks such as infertility, immune system problems, gastrointestinal problems, and organ damage associated with eating GM foods. Farmers around the world have linked GM foods to thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock. According to a study completed in 2009, three types of GM corn that were approved for human consumption were fed to rats for just 90 days resulted in damaged kidneys and livers. Only one GM study on humans has been published and it reports that in some people, herbicide-resistant genes from soybeans transferred into the DNA of bacteria living inside their intestines. This means there may be potentially dangerous GM proteins being produced inside of them even long after they stop eating GMOs. At this point all that can be done is to stop, look, listen, and hope for the best.  There is a nonprofit public interest group, The Center for Food Safety, which calls the U.S. regulation of genetic engineering negligent and a disaster not only for consumers but for the environment as well.

The third concern that causes people to want labeling is the possible harm GMOs could be causing to the environment.   According to the National Research Council, the overuse of the active ingredient in the most widely used herbicide in the U.S., is Roundup which is tolerant to glyphosate and results in weeds resistant to this herbicide and this is causing farmers to use herbicides that are even more toxic which results in harming the environment. One recent major environmental consequence has been the wide spreaddeath of honey bees which have been connected to the dramatic increases of toxic herbicides and pesticides. Other environmental concerns are the increase in the use of harmful herbicides caused by GM crops has resulted in having  harmful effects on the environment. In addition, the increase of insecticide-resistant crops may bring an end to helpful insects, like bees, that play an important part in pollination.  Still another environmental concern is crop diversity reduction brought about from mass cultivation of single GM plant variations that could cause problems with long-term sustainability of our global food supply.

Based on what has been shown and after careful review of the opposing arguments for labeling, labeling does not need to be required because it would only be a waste of money. As to the first reason discussed, that labeling is wanted because of the “right to know what they are eating”, this can be accomplished by consumers merely  purchasing organic foods because they are labeled, otherwise avoid all other foods. There is no scientific valid reason as to why GMOs should not be eaten but consumers have a way to avoid GMOs without causing so much drama. As to the matter of health people want these foods labeled because they feel GMOs are unsafe for consumption; Americans have been consuming genetically engineered crops for 16 years without any evidence that these crops are a risk to humans. According to Sen. Roz Baker of Maui, state agencies will soon be asked to study the economic concerns of labeling and to review studies on GMO health and agriculture issues.  As for environmental concerns, the over-use of pesticides and herbicides is very harmful to the eco-system so here is where money to control this issue should be spent, not on to label or not to label foods.

With recent decisions by the Senate committees, more fact finding studies are needed before making decisions to require labeling. Secondly the cost of labeling will undoubtedly drive the already high price of foods up even higher and that labeling will cause some customers to assume there is something wrong with the product. I It should also be made clear that for those who wish to avoid foods containing genetically modified organisms, they should make the choice to purchase foods that have the Certified USA Organic food label. These labels make it illegal for GMOs to be used into these foods.

Sources:

“The Push To Label Genetically Engineered Foods.” Environmental Nutrition 35.6 (2012): 3. Health Source – Consumer Edition. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

Ruhs, Barbara. “Update: GMOs in Foods.” Environmental Nutrition 36.2 (2013): 1-6. Health Source – Consumer Edition. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

Smith, Melissa Diane. “Say No To GMOs.” Better Nutrition 73.3 (2011): 46-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Young, Allison. “GMOs: Friend or Foe?” Natural Health 42.4 (2012): 46-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Zoellick, Sarah, “Bill for GMO labels fails; study sought [The Honolulu Star-Advertiser].” 22 Mar.2013 <www.equities.com/…/bill-for-gmo-labels-fails-study.story

Because We Should

studentvoices01By Kainalu Chun
LCC-Wai’anae student
April 2013
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae instructor – English 100

[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients,’ the second essay will be a persuasive essay ‘arguing for (or against) labeling foods with GMO ingredients.'” -Danny Wyatt]

Today the world is experiencing a widespread of news concerning the debate on GMO labeling. The social media is being flooded, even Facebook and Twitter, with news about the battle for agricultural justice. Organizations like Non-GMO Project, Occupy Monsanto, and Save Hawai’i from Monsanto are a few of the many groups on Facebook that are supporting requiring GMO labeling. Just recently, activists experienced a near victory in the California; Proposition 37 which would have required labeling for all foods containing GMO ingredients sold in that state was narrowly defeated. In spite of the loss, supporters seem to now have the attention of the opposing party. But labeling supporters are determined to put an end to concealing harmful GMO ingredients that could potentially hurt future generations and question agricultural integrity. While awareness rises, people will soon discover what these sophisticated ingredients really are. This is why activists are commanding the Hawaii legislature to enforce labeling on products containing GMOs and encouraging supporters to take a stand and continue the fight against major corporations like Monsanto and Dole, top producers of genetically engineered (GE) products to simply put labels on their products that contain genetic modified ingredients.

Many opposing labeling are skeptical about labeling products that contain GMOs because they are claiming that it is unnecessary and useless. Anti-labeling groups say that it will only drive up the cost of food that is already on the higher end and potentially destroy small and organic farmers by increasing production costs. The sole purpose of GM crops is to potentially maximize agricultural productivity, but it has done the opposite. According to “Failure to Yield”, the Union of Concerned Scientists has reported that GM production, within 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, has not concluded in an increase yields. In addition, experts are also stating that traditional practices and organic farming methods can double crop yields at minimal cost to farmers. This is possible because farmers aren’t spending excessive amounts of money on pesticides and herbicides to maintain crops. Those doubtful are also stating, “If agencies like the FDA approve the transgenic crops then it is absolutely safe.” (McClure 717-40) But this is not true, the FDA guidelines state that no special labeling is required unless a food is significantly different than its traditional counterpart or where a specific component is altered. So without definitive proof that transgenic crops directly affect the consumer’s health then no labeling is required.

This is why 90 percent of Americans want labels to identify genetically modified products; it is difficult to distinguish which products contain those harmful ingredients. According to “Environmental Nutrition”, 75 to 80 percent of processed foods in the U.S. contain GMO ingredients. Therefore the public is vastly exposed to products that have been contaminated with genetically engineered ingredients being sold in the local supermarkets. Not only is it deceiving, consumers have a right to know what they are consuming. If companies like Monsanto and Dole are so confident that their product is completely safe, then why not label it? By restricting such regulation on their products, it only proves to the consumer that these food manufacturers are trying to conceal vital information that could possibly jeopardize their dominance in the food industry.

Now that news is out that a majority of the U.S. population is eager to install some type of labeling system in our food supply, maybe it will alarm those GM corporations and possibly encourage them to end such concealment. It’s been a long 20 years that consumers have been denied their right to know what they’re consuming, and its time that those companies reveal such deceptions. As long as people continue to stay current about the battle of GMO labeling and continue to educate themselves about the harmful effects of GMOs, then California’s Proposition 37 will be the last defeat the public will ever experience. If supporters continue to be heard by legislatures decide to join forces with the people and take action, then it may potentially lead to a great victory by banning GMOs entirely.

Source:

McClure, Jason. “Genetically Modified Food.” CQ Researcher. 31 Aug. 2012: 717-40. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

Different Products Deserve Different Packages

studentvoices01By Railinn Martin
LCC-Wai’anae student
April 2013
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae instructor – English 100

[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients,’ the second essay will be a persuasive essay ‘arguing for (or against) labeling foods with GMO ingredients.'” -Danny Wyatt]

Genetically modified organisms are a highly debated topic. Concerns about GMOs posing health risks and the unknown quantity of genetically modified ingredients in food are increasing. American consumers are fighting for what consumers in Europe already have; the right to know what they are feeding their families. This right is presented by proposals to require labeling foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The public deserves to know what they are buying so as to make independent and well informed decisions.

GMOs pose an environmental risk.  Because some GMOs are resistant to herbicides, farmers have the ability to increase spraying of herbicides such as Roundup, an ability that is likely used too often  (Turner 30-33). With the increase in these sprayed applications, the weeds become resistant to them calling for more frequent and stronger herbicides to be applied. Not only can these herbicides run into water supplies, poisoning those who consume the water, it creates a destructive cycle. More spraying gives weeds and pests more opportunities to become resistant to the chemicals which in turn call for even more spraying of even harsher chemicals. In addition, spraying herbicides exposes farmers to chemicals, which even the packaging says is dangerous. These chemicals aren’t just on the fields where they are sprayed; they stay on the crop and end up in people’s meals.

Hospital visits are terrifying and can be caused by what people eat. Choking is no longer the main risk when eating dinner. Due to the alterations in crop genes, contamination between two species causes allergic reactions in people who previously had no issues with the same product (Turner 30-33). Because producers are not required to label GMOs, consumers who experience allergic reactions to the modified product are unaware of the difference between what they used to eat and what they were eating that caused them to become ill. When shopping for someone with allergies, product differences can easily be the difference between life and death and mistakes are more likely to occur without labeling. In addition to allergic reactions, some genetically modified foods are tied to increased cancer risks. Dairy cows injected with the genetically modified hormone called Bovine Growth Hormone (BVH) have higher numbers of insulin growth factor-1 which is closely tied to an increased risk of cancer, such as breast cancer  (Miller 27-83). Because cancer often has no definite cure and treatment successes vary by person, allowing GMOs to sit on shelves without labels, potentially causing thousands to die, is denying the American people the ability to save their own and their children’s lives.

The FDA’s argument for not requiring labels on GMO food is that they are not much different than their traditional counter-parts. An argument over this definition occurred in regards to labeling milk as not being injected with Bovine Growth Hormone.  In fact, the deciding factor in the argument was in contrast to the FDA’s statement, milk from cows injected with the hormone is proven to be of lesser nutritional value and quality than milk from cows not injected  (Au 571-578).  Because there is a difference, labeling milk lacking BVH as such does not mislead consumers and allows them to make more educated choices.

Although environmental and health risks are both as terrifying as they are dangerous,  the freedom to choose is the single most important factor which without a doubt applies to all in the United States and cannot be thrown out as a paranoid or unfounded claim.  A law restricting the size of soda pops available for purchase in New York City was overturned because it violated freedom of choice by forcing consumers and businesses to buy smaller drinks and because it wasn’t evenly applied  (Judge voids New York soda ban, calling it “arbitrary and capricous” 1). An example being that although the consumer could no longer purchase hundreds of soda calories from a restaurant, they could still buy a two-liter container of the same beverage from a super market. So just as consumers have the right to drink high sugar and high calorie beverages, they deserve the right to choose whether or not to eat GMO laden food; therefore, the easiest and most practical way to give consumers this choice is to require products containing GMOs to be labeled. Furthermore, this choice is considerably healthier option than being allowed to gorge on potentially unhealthy soda pops.

Genetically modified organisms in foods should be labeled to allow consumers to choose what they eat. Because health and environmental concerns already steer some away from GMOs, labeling just makes it easier for those consumers to avoid products they don’t want. The likelihood of developing obesity because of drinking huge sodas doesn’t stop people from purchasing those sodas; instead it allows people to make more informed decisions about what they consume. That is all that labeling requirements are about, just like nutritional information on the side, it informs the consumer what they are buying so they can decide what is best for their families.

Sources:

“Genetically Modified Organisms Production, Regulation, And Marketing.” International Debates 4.3 (2006): 66-69. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013

Au, Tony. “Got (Rbst-Free) Milk?’ The Sixth Circuit Overturns Ohio’s Milk Labeling Restrictions.” Ecology Law Quarterly 38.2 (2011): 571-578. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

“Judge voids New York soda ban, calling it ‘arbitrary and capricious’.” Christian Science Monitor 11 Mar. 2013: N.PAG. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

“Most Obese US State Bans Food Portion Restrictions.” AP English Worldstream – English (2013): News (AP, UPI, etc.). Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

Turner, Lisa. “Playing With Our Food.” Better Nutrition 69.4 (2007): 30-33. Health Source – Consumer Edition. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

Diller, Paul A., and Samantha Graff. “Regulating Food Retail For Obesity Prevention: How Far Can Cities Go?.” Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics 39.(2011): 89-93. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

MATHER, ROBIN. “The Threats From Genetically Modified Foods.” Mother Earth News 251 (2012): 42-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

Miller, Conrad. “Today’s Synthetic Foods: Shrinking Our Brains, Testicles, And Livers?.” Tikkun 24.5 (2009): 27-83. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013

Goulet, Dawn. “What Cases About “All Natural” Labels Mean For Marketing.” CADS Report 22.2 (2012): 2-10. Legal Collection. Web. 21 Mar. 2013

Rajan, S. Ravi, and Deborah K. Letourneau. “What Risk Assessments Of Genetically Modified Organisms Can Learn From Institutional Analyses Of Public Health Risks.” Journal Of Biomedicine & Biotechnology 2012.(2012): 1-8. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar. 2013

Label GMOs for their Parents

studentvoices01By Breana Kialoa
LCC-Wai’anae student
April 2013
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae instructor – English 100

[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients,’ the second essay will be a persuasive essay ‘arguing for (or against) labeling foods with GMO ingredients.'” -Danny Wyatt]

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are organisms being genetically altered using biotechnology. The process of genetically engineered foods consists of extracting a

DNA segment from one species and inserting that DNA segment into the genes of another organism. This process was first introduced in the 1990s and is performed to speed up plant breeding and produce a desired trait in plants.  Overtime, the primary sources of GMO foods have become corn, cotton seeds, canola oil, sugar beets, and soy beans. These crops are then transformed into food ingredients used in the myriad of processed foods Americans consume. Americans are demanding a genetically modified foods labeling law because GM foods pose health risks, restriction consumer choices, and endanger to our environment.

One of the most important reasons why Americans are demanding a GM food law is because of rising health issues believed to be related to GMOs. The Food and Drug Administration does not require any safety testing for GM foods because Monsanto, the manufacturer of GM seeds, says the product is safe. According to Smith in “Say No to GMOs”, in the past 20 years, allergies and asthma have increased during the same time that GMOs were introduced into the food supply (50). GMOs may also be the cause of a dramatically increasing number of infertility and gastrointestinal problems . The author further states that scientific research has linked GM foods to thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, thousands of toxic and allergic reactions in humans, and damage to virtually every organ studied (Smith “Just Say…” 46). Research has also been conducted on rats and other animals that consumed GMO. Philpott says that in the 1990s, rats were force-fed GM tomatoes which resulted in stomach lesions and seven rats died within two weeks (5). This research shows that there shouldn’t be any reason why GM foods are still safe for humans to consume because they contain pesticides that conveniently kill bugs, yet sickens animals which leads to deaths.

In addition, according to McLure, consumers are pushing for the GMO labeling law because they believe that it is a core American value to have the right to know what they are consuming (17). Without labeling, consumers aren’t able to make informed choices about their food. Young states that if GM foods were to be labeled, shoppers would be able to make their own risk assessments about the foods they eat (A13). Consumers would have the freedom to knowledgably choose to eat GM foods or reject them, but they still cannot make that elementary choice because there is still no label to identify which foods contain GMO and which do not. The author says that Californian voters stood up for their rights to know what they’re eating, but Monsanto outrageously spent over $8 million to stop passage of the law (Stonebrook16). Even if the GM labeling law doesn’t get passed, Monsanto and other GM producers will lose a lot of customers because people are becoming more aware of GMO foods and are more often avoiding them because they don’t too know much about what they are consuming. According to Smith, non-GMO food sales rose 219 percent in 2010 alone (36) which is ample proof of the American consumers becoming more and more health conscience.

Genetically modified crops also pose risks to the environment. Smith states that there is a threat of GM seeds spreading and contaminating both organic and conventional crop fields (36). For example, corn pollen is among the largest particles found in the air. The pollen is then dispersed by wind and gravity causing it to drift to earth and cross-pollinating. Also, there may be other chemicals traveling through the air besides pollen. With the massive amounts of herbicides and pesticides being sprayed, it could be traveling everywhere instead of just staying on the intended crops. The author says that pesticides could be clinging to dust when it blows, and seeping into the waters of Kauai which could be the cause of 50,000 sea urchins that died in the last year (Hooser). If GMO crops are grown to resist pesticides and herbicides, farmers can increase the amounts they use because  even at these increased levels, the crops still survive as they are genetically modified to do . According to  Smith, pesticide use increased 318 million pounds in the first thirteen years since GMOs were introduced (36) despite the development of Bt corn which was to reduce the need for such pesticides. Plus, if weeds and pests start to develop resistance to these chemicals, they would have to come up with much stronger chemicals to kill the same weeds and pests. Smith says that  Roundup, a major component of Agent Orange, created GM crops that are resistant to ever more toxic chemicals (36). It doesn’t make sense because weeds do eventually adapt to that herbicide and there will be no more options but to shut down the GMO producers. Once Monsanto and all the other companies that produce GMOs shut down due to GMO failure, scientists will have to experiment on GMOs to possibly reverse all the side effects and dissolve any traces of the herbicides and pesticides that people consumed.

Genetically modified foods should be labeled because that would give people the option to choose what happens to their own  bodies. If they know the risks of eating GM foods and still choose to eat them, it will be their own  choice. The GM producers shouldn’t have the right to say what enters the consumers’ bodies and hide ingredients that might make people sick or develop allergic reactions. A labeling law should be passed because it is wasting too much time denying the proposal. Consumers are paying money for products not knowing what they are feeding their family and that is simply wrong.

Sources:

Hooser, Gary. “Full Labeling of GMO Products Is a Must.” Honolulu Advertiser. (2013).

McLure, Jason. “Genetically Modified Food.” CQ Researcher 31 (2012): 17-40. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

Our View. “Feds Should Tackle GMO Labeling.” Honolulu Star Advertiser. (2013):A13.

Philpott, Tom. “Could This Election Kill Monsanto’s Mutant Seeds.” Mother Jones 37.6 (2012): 5-7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

Smith,  Melissa Diane. “Gmo Reality Check.” Better Nutrition 74.8 (2012): 36-39. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.

Smith, Melissa Diane . “Go Gluten Free. Saying “NO” To Gmos.” Better Nutrition 73.10 (2011): 50-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.

Smith, Melissa Diane . “SAY NO TO Gmos.” Better Nutrition 73.3 (2011): 46-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.

Stonebrook, Shelley. “Big Ag Defeats GMO-Labeling Proposition.” Mother Earth News 256 (2013): 16. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.