FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Truth in Labeling: It’s Our Right to Know What’s In Our Food

by

On July 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. A gross misnomer, since the bill’s real purpose is to preempt the rights of state and local governments to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to overturn GMO labeling laws already in place in several states and to prevent the passage of any federal mandatory GMO labeling law.

If this bill becomes law, U.S. consumers will be deprived of basic information about the content of their food, information they want and have a right to know. It will prohibit truthful disclosure and non-misleading free speech, clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

Apparently the Republican controlled House of Representatives feels campaign contributions are protected free speech, truthful food labels, — I guess not.

Since GMO crops were first commercialized they have been widely adopted by farmers, mostly in the US and Canada. While I have never panted these crops, I have watched my neighbors, their initial, total acceptance of transgenic seed and now their efforts, to keep up with the increasing costs and failures of the technology as it becomes overwhelmed by herbicide resistant weeds and insects that have developed resistance to insecticidal crops.

To most of them it has been an uphill battle. Most tell me that they make no more money planting GMO’s, they do not see any benefit for consumers, but they do see the biotech industry continue to show steadily increasing profits. They feel like they are trapped on a treadmill.

Perhaps only those of us who live in rural areas see how much pesticide and fertilizer are used to grow these high-tech crops. They will not yield without application of their patented chemicals and high fertility levels. It is a vicious cycle, farmers must strive to get every possible bushel of yield to offset falling prices and rising costs

If the millions of pounds of herbicides used to control weeds were not enough, another widely accepted practice, that goes largely unnoticed, is the use of Monsanto’s Round-Up® as a crop desiccant. Small grain crops (wheat, oats, barley etc.) are routinely sprayed just days before harvest to kill any late maturing grain and surviving weeds.

None of these small grains are “Round-Up Ready”, so they will die to facilitate easier harvest. The grain, which then goes directly into the food chain, is not residue tested, and clearly the chemical has little time to break down prior to grinding the grain into flour or processing it into other food products.

Thus, there is a direct addition of herbicide to our diets . This use of herbicide, while not directly connected to HR 1599, does point out how pervasive the use of pesticides has become and how regulation is lacking. The widespread and increasing use of pesticides for every situation has become standard, accepted, ignored and legal.

H.R. 1599 is a prime example of how corporate money has corrupted the political process in order to create laws that protect corporate profits at the expense of American citizens. According to a report from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, the 275 members of the U.S. House who voted in favor of H.R. 1599 received $29.9 million in contributions from the agribusiness and food industries in the 2014 cycle.

While campaign contributions can easily explain the passage of 1599 in the House, one does wonder how the majority party, who pride themselves on wanting to end “big government” and give more power back to State and local government, can so mindlessly pass a bill that absolutely takes those powers away.

If GMO’s are so good and so safe, why do we need laws to hide them from scrutiny? But as Bill Maher points out, “When consumers know things, they tend to make informed choices, and that could affect corporate profits. I’m sorry, but your right to know is always going to be outweighed by their right to hide it from you.”

Perhaps if we went back to a more local, less intensive style of farming we would not be growing so much corn and soybeans, but that could be a good thing. We might actually grow more pasture for livestock and more food for people. We might be less reliant on getting our food from the global economy, people might actually know what they were eating and our farmers and farm workers might be able to make a living wage?

Laws like HR 1599 won’t get us there.

More articles by:

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin.

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail