In several dozen countries across the world, the standard for GMO labeling is clear: food consumers can easily tell whether their food is genetically engineered or not because of clear labels that tell them right on the package.
But here in the United States, where Monsanto has managed to gain unchecked, unprecedented influence over our government officials and the GMO and chemical industries have run amok, the fight for GMO labeling has been long, arduous and drawn out, culminating in the passage of a new DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act that is finally about to go into effect.
Now, the new labels the junk food and GMO lobbyists spent over $400 million to have crafted their way have officially been unveiled — and it appears as though grassroots activists have been right all along as they truly do leave customers in the dark.
“The Images are Just as Insulting to Consumers as the Law”
As shown in this article from the website Common Dreams, potential new GMO labels have officially been unveiled, and they’re even more vague and confusing than originally expected.
The images do not include the words “GMO” anywhere on them, and instead use the acronym “BE” for “Bioengineered,” on cheery, colorful labels that make the process seem natural and benign.
Organic and clean food advocates were incensed by the new labels, which clearly have the Biotech industry’s best interests at heart.
“The images are just as insulting to consumers as the law, which the chemical and junk food industry lobbyists spent $400 million to pass,” said Katherine Paul of the Organic Consumers Association.
If not for the hundreds of millions of dollars in Biotech and Big Food industry spending, advocates say, the labels would be far easier to read and far less of a handout to the GMO industry.
The passage of the new system had the effect of overturning Vermont’s own democratically passed, far-more-direct labeling bill that many believe would have been the standard for the entire country had it passed.
Instead, the Biotech industry has once again received favorable treatment from the government.
Commenting Period Now Open on Controversial New “GMO Labels”
As noted in the article, the public commenting period is now open for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal for labeling products that use GMOs, and you can add your comment by following this link (luckily the process is simple and the link takes you directly to a simple-to-use comment submission form).
The deadline for the new rules to be finalized is July 29, 2018.
According to Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, the new proposal constitutes “a gift to industry from our now Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who authored the legislation to squash the Vermont GMO labeling law and mandatory labels.”
She especially believes that the proposal is deceptive because most consumers don’t know what the term bioengineered means, as most know the term GMO or genetic engineering, the latter of which is usually used on packaged foods in Europe that are labeled (most are imported since Europe largely bans the cultivation of GMOs).
“(The) USDA’s exclusion of the well-established terms, GE and GMO, as options will confuse and mislead consumers, and the agency must instead allow the use of those terms,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive direct for the Center for Food Safety.
The new rules also allow companies selling potential GMO products like sweet corn to include the label “may be bioengineered,” and also allow companies to use a system of QR codes instead of labels, which are time consuming and discriminatory to the 1/3 of American shoppers who don’t have smartphones, consumer advocates say.
“This is a ‘Call to Action’ to all Americans who have waited for decades to finally have GE foods labeled,” says Kimbrell. “Now is the time to tell the Trump administration to do the right thing and meaningfully label these foods.”