Labels for health

Greenwich State Rep. Fred Camillo is co-sponsoring a bill pushing an effort to have genetically modified foods labeled as such to inform and protect consumers. He is quick to note, however, this measure is solely to let purchasers know about what they are buying and is not an attempt to ban these products or to pass judgment on whether they are “good or bad.”

While we applaud Mr. Camillo for standing up to protect consumers, we will pass judgment on these so-called foods. Genetically modified foods (GMOs) should be banned for the protection of our environment and the protection of our health.

Genetic engineering subjects our food to DNA altering processes which can include mutation breeding, cloning and exposure to radiation or chemicals. The purpose of these processes is to produce more food, focusing solely on quantity and cosmetics. But what we are doing in the process is destroying our food supply from the inside out.

When you go to the supermarket and see those elephantine ears of yellow corn, or go out to a cattle farm and see our bulked up cows, in most cases these are not the result of an exceptionally green thumb or overfeeding by a loving farmer. These pest resistant crops provide far fewer nutrients than organically grown produce from biodiverse farms. Cows’ stomachs are physically only meant to digest grass, but they are fed altered corn and soy and pumped up with antibiotics to keep them healthy enough to make it to slaughter.

This food is not bred or engineered for nutrition. Michael Pollan, a leading food journalist, says when we eat genetically altered food, we now have to eat multiple times the amount of food our ancestors did to get the same nutrients and benefits. This only leads to overeating and over consuming which is just what food businesses want.

Genetic engineering is still a young and untested technology. Coupled with this fact, much of the research on the technology is being handled by a few profit-hungry corporations.

Biotech companies, such as Monsanto, promote crop uniformity which reduces genetic diversity making them more vulnerable to disease and pests. This furthers the need for pesticides, many of which are created by the same companies promoting genetically engineered crops. Monsanto’s pesticide RoundUp is a prime example.

In Vermont, which has overwhelming support from citizens in favor of “right to know” legislation that mandates the labeling of these GMO products, Monsanto is now threatening to sue the state, according to the Valley Advocate of Northampton, Mass.

We can not allow these corporations continue to profit at the cost of our health and our environment. We stand firmly behind this proposed “right to know” legislation, but believe this is only the first battle in the fight to protect our food supply.

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