With only a few days left for the Oregon elections, millions of dollars are pouring in from out of state attempting to influence the public and defeat the measure. Billionaire influenced peddlers such as the Koch brothers of Michigan are spending millions on Republican candidates like Republican candidate Monica Wehby. The difficulty for the public is to determine facts from fiction within the constant barrage of television commercials appearing nightly on local television channels. Usually, the theme features seemingly sincere “farmers” and “nutritionists” playing on the fears of huge public that GMO labeling will raise food prices, add unnecessary red tape to product creation and distribution and in general hurt the economy in Oregon.
The inconvenient truth that they refuse to portray is the consequences to the environment and to food safety. For more than a decade, scientists have been aggressively pursuing an answer to natural disasters such as bee colony collapse. Since more than three quarters of our food supply comes from pollinated plants, these keystone species are critical to growing food, and therefore can seriously affect human survival as well as that of many other species. Recently, the United Nations predicted that by 2100, global climate change could lead to entire extinction of half of the species on earth.
Environmentalists and health care workers across the world are alarmed by the impact of these so-called “franken foods” developed out of genetically modified corn primarily. Many of these grains are considered unfit for animal consumption and yet they often show up in the human food supply in the form of chips, snack food and other supplementary by-products.
At core of the issue, however, is the consumer’s right to have a choice in the matter. Consumers should be informed that these altered molecules are present in the food that they buy. This is particularly disconcerting for vegans and others with dietary restrictions. Monsanto and others have been experimenting for years with inter-species cross breeding such as using fish blood to make tomatoes and strawberries more colorful and immune to frost. The labeling law will at least inform customers of huge presence of hybridized and cross pollinated molecules in the food and thereby give them a choice. The David and Goliath fight over measure 92 is simply one of empowered citizens versus big corporate interests and profit.
The United States is sorely behind the eight ball relative to the global market. Particularly in Europe, all food and grains sold there must warn customers if GMO ingredients are included. Both Japan and Europe have refused shipments from the United estate due to GMO properties found in the grain.
It is really a matter of whether or not your view includes the entire ecosystem or not. Whether or not there is a connection between GMO grain and bee colony collapse is a contentious issue, but those who suspect a connection with GMO crops will not take that chance. Consumers deserve to be informed about what they take into their bodies. Measure 92 is about consumer protection for our generation and the future to come.