The Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Genetically Modified Foods

“Change We Can Believe In”

 In the 2009 election, candidate Barack Obama promised “Change” for all Americans. One of the “changes” Obama promised was the labeling of foods that contained genetically modified ingredients. Organic farmers and activist across the nation gave Obama their support so consumers would finally know what there food was being made of. However, Obama’s term as president is almost up and if one were to go to their local grocery store and look at the ingredients of the foods they were purchasing, they would still see no label that says “contains genetically modified foods”. Obama made many promises during his campaign, but organic activist remember one quote in particular- “We’ll let folks know if their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they’re buying.” Yet after three years in office that promise has not been fulfilled and organic farmers, activists, and business leaders are fed up with empty promises from our government.

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 Genetically Modified What?

What exactly are genetically modified foods and are they good or bad? Simply put genetically modified foods are foods who’s DNA has been genetically altered to grow faster, last longer, or overcome an environmental problem such as drought or extreme climate. Now all this sounds fine and dandy and genetically modified foods creators, such as Monsanto, will tell you their products are the answer to every and all food problem, however that is a lie. By genetically changing the make-up of the foods we eat we are loosing key nutritional value and exposing ourselves to food that have not been thoroughly or effectively tested. Moreover, test and research that have come back prove that genetically modified foods are unhealthy and can cause serious health problems such as cancer. One test preformed on mice and rats showed that genetically modified corn can cause reductions in fertility, smaller litter sizes, smaller offspring, and immune responses.

What is even more frightening is genetically modified foods are unavoidable in the United States. Almost 80 percent of all foods in stores contain some sort of genetically modified ingredient. Even some organic foods are not safe from cross pollination when grown. Most of Europe has already banned the use of genetically modified foods or have laws that require labeling of products that contain them. So why does the United States consider genetically modified foods safe and does not enforce any laws requiring labeling? Truth is, many government officials are supported by or are ex-employees of corporate companies that sold genetically modified foods.

 Land of the Free, Home of Genetically Modified Foods

Since the Clinton administration, genetically modified food labeling has been an issue. As the years have gone by more and more people are demanding for foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be given a label. Consumers have the right to know what they are eating, right? Well our government does not think so, even though the Center for Food Safety and the Just Label It campaign claim that 93% of consumers are for labeling. So why is our government not listening to its people? Was America not founded on the principles of a government that is “by the people, for the people”?

Unfortunately, when it comes to genetically modified food labeling that is not the case. Big corporate company voices are getting louder in Washington while the peoples voice is dwindling. More and more ex-employees of genetically modified food companies, such as Monsanto, are getting jobs in politics. Our very own Food Safety Czar Michael Taylor, is the former Monsanto executive who crafted the FDA’s GMO friendly policy while serving as the FDA’s Deputy commissioner for policy. Monsanto was able to gain approval for their bovine growth hormone in milk from Margrette Miller who just so happened to work for Monsanto when the hormone was being created. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas used to be a lawyer for Monsanto. The list seems to go on and on, not to mention the Monsanto lobbyist that give candidates the big bucks during elections. With so many Monsanto employees in every nook and cranny of the United States government, it is no wonder a bill for genetically modified food labeling can not  pass through Congress.

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 Is there Hope?

Recently there has been talk of a ballot in California for the 2012 election requiring genetically modified foods to be labeled. This will be one of the first major steps for Americans to gain freedom from the big food companies that contaminate the food consumers eat without their permission or knowledge. It is time we as Americans stand up against the corporate companies that have controlled our food production and our government for too long. What happens in the 2012 election can either give the American people back their freedom or they will continue to wear the shackles put on them by the genetically modified food companies.

-Chelsea Barfield

Works Consulted

Bloom, Jeremy. “Monsanto employees in the halls of governement.” Red, Green, and Blue. redgreenandblue.org, 9 Feb. 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2011. http://redgreenandblue.org/ 2011/02/09/monsanto-employees-in-the-halls-of-government/

“Wikileaks: GMO conspiracy reaches highest levels of US Government.” Crisisboom. crisisboom.com, 26 Feb. 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2011. http://crisisboom.com/2011/02/26/wikileaks-gmo-conspiracy/

Conant, Eve. “Obama’s Organic Game.” U.S. Politics. thedailybest.com, 15 Oct. 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2011. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/15/political-battle-over-genetically-modified-foods-should-they-be-labeled.html

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