Next Tuesday, California residents will have the opportunity to make a giant leap toward customers’ right to know. Prop 37–if passed–will require labeling of GMO foods. While it may seem a no-brainer, Big Ag opposes its passage. They have invested millions in their cause.
GMO labeling has become a political game of spin and lobbyists. Major players like Monsanto are getting their word out about the safety of GMO products. Of course, they have a financial stake in it. They produce the seedstock and the pesticides that farmers use. They also fund the research that they say proves the safety of GMO foods.
These facts alone would make anyone suspicious. To be fair, this is common practice. Drug companies, other agriculture and most industries fund research to study their products. The concern with GMO products lies with the fact that those in the industry discount independent research that doesn’t support their work.
Money acts as the big player in the agricultural industry. One has to question how unbiased a scientific journal can be if its sponsors also include these same biotech firms involved in the sale of GMO products.
One likes to believe that the truth reigns supreme. However, how likely is a journal to publish a negative study about one of their corporate sponsors? The FDA, for example, investigated drug manufacturers, Merck and Schering-Plough, for allegedly burying data that showed their cholesterol drug, Vytorin, proved no better at reducing arterial plaque formation in participants despite claims to the contrary.
This is not to say that scientific journals are dishonest. Authors must sign a statement regarding any conflict of interest that exists with a study. You know if a particular company is funding research that may potentially introduce some bias.
Consequences of GMO Labeling
Big Ag fears the consequences of required labeling. One has to ask, why? If these ingredients are truly safe, what is the concern if they are identified? That is the fundamental question.
The objections certainly don’t lie with the expense aspect. Many countries across the world like Norway and China already have regulations in place and require labeling.
I suspect too, that the average Joe doesn’t really care. They won’t stop buying products because they now know that they contain GMO ingredients. Most people aren’t that engaged. So again, we have to ask why does Monsanto and their ilk want to hide GMO ingredients from consumers?