The GMO labeling debate continues, but the anti-GMO movement has suffered some serious losses in the past few years. Both California and Washington State defeated GMO labeling proposals in 2012 and 2013, respectively. While Vermont was able to pass a GMO labeling law this spring, it is currently being challenged by lawsuits from four organizations. One of these organizations, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, stated that the labeling law is costly and misguided and will do nothing to advance the health and safety of consumers.
Several big names in politics and science are also taking a pro-GMO stance. For example, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are outspoken GMO-supporters. Clinton recently voiced her support for GMOs at the BIO International Convention this past June. There s a big gap between what the facts are, and what the perceptions are, Clinton stated, urging biotech professionals to continue to deliver the facts on GMO safety. Kerry expressed his support in 2013, stating that GMOs save lives, and can help alleviate the level of hunger and malnutrition today.
And President Obama recently spoke about the need to encourage research in this area: I share his [Norman Borlaug] belief that investment in enhanced biotechnology is an essential component of the solution to some of our planet s most pressing agricultural problems.
Astrophysicist and Cosmos host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is also a tenacious advocate for GMOs. In a Facebook post earlier this month, Tyson gave his opinion on GMO labeling: Since practically all food has been genetically altered from nature, if you want labeling I suppose you could demand it, but then it should be for all such foods. Several newspapers also share Tyson s view that GMO labeling is pointless and unnecessary. Tyson also stated in an interview that he was amazed at how much rejection GMO foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don t fully understand it or don t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it, he said. He also added that modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs is something we ve been doing for thousands of years.
While Colorado and Oregon will be voting on GMO labeling proposals in the next few months, it is likely the anti-GMO proposals won t be getting very far if the states follow in the same footsteps of highly liberal California and Washington. Word is continuing to spread about how ill-informed the anti-GMO party is, as well as how safe genetically-modified foods have been proven to be, and the raging GMO debate may soon dissipate. As the pro-GMO forces continue to build their support in scientific studies, as well as endorsement from several politicians, scientists, and consumers alike, the anti-GMO movement may soon run out of ineffectual arguments and be forced to accept defeat.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom says, The labeling issue has been and continues to be a red herring. It is completely irrelevant whether the sugar in your cereal comes from genetically modified sugar beets or from sugar cane. The sugar from both is identical in every way.
He continues, So what s the fuss all about? What is really going on is a big marketing campaign. There is a huge amount of money at stake, and the organic food industry would love to have this crazy labeling system in place. Many people who are scared of the entire GM concept would be looking at that label as if it were a skull and crossbones, and buy the products that do not contain it.