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GMO labeling

Feds should tackle GMO labeling (opinion)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by: Hesh Goldstein
Tags: GMO labeling, federal government, regulations


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(NaturalNews) Before commencing with this article please be advised that it appeared on the editorial page of the Honolulu Star Advertiser on March 13,2013, obviously written by an unnamed member of the editorial staff. Bear in mind that it is the first time that this newspaper gave any credence to the labeling of GMOs. After the article I will add one of the few letters of mine that the paper has printed, followed by recommendations.

"The push for better disclosure about food products containing a genetically modified organism has grown more heated and energetic this year, with the introduction of state legislation to require labeling stating that the product contains GMOs.

Unfortunately, the state lacks the power of the federal government to address the problem, so legislation now moving through the state Senate if unlikely to succeed.

The debate has raised awareness of the issue, including the sheer number of unanswered questions about the foods in general. There are many strategies used in engineering a crop by altering its genetic material in a laboratory, each aiming for a specific improvement. The spectrum includes everything from GMO papaya that is resistant to ringspot virus to corn that can tolerate being sprayed with a weed-killer.

The agricultural industry often touts the significant increase in crop yields, and in a world plagued by hunger, that is a trait not to be lightly dismissed. But it must be weighed against the legitimate concerns about the long-term health effects of consuming such foods: The scientific evaluations are still inconclusive. In the absence of firm conclusions in such a complex field of food-safety research, a measure to require labeling, such as House Bill 174, is an understandable attempt to bring clarity to consumer decisions. Advocates say that shoppers could make their own risk assessment about the foods they eat, if they could read a label disclosing any GMO content in a product.

As rational as the desire for information is, HB 174 is not the instrument for gaining better disclosure because it's likely to draw a legal challenge. The state Department of the Attorney General has testified against the bill, asserting that it would run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, on two separate grounds. Federal laws on food labeling would pre-empt those issued by Hawaii or any other state, under the supremacy clause.

Further, HB 174 applies to imported foods but not Hawaii products, which violates the Constitution's clause because it imposes special requirements on food coming in from the other 49 states. Several of the bill's advocates recommend that it cover all products sold here to avoid that problem.

But even if the rule applied across the board and enforcement challenges could be overcome, it's hard to see how the supremacy clause issue can be solved. This means that it's up to Congress to press for further research on the safety on bioengineered foods. Additionally, federal agencies should set new rules requiring the disclosure of genetically engineered methods in food production, and the labeling of food products, across the country.

In the meantime, it's encouraging to see select retailers taking the lead on labeling foods containing no GMO ingredients. Whole Foods Market, for example, has partnered with the nonprofit Non-GMO Project (nongmoproject.org) to identify products certified to be GMO-free and label them as such. Just as in programs to brand products as "organic" or "locally grown", it makes good marketing sense to make a product's desirable qualities explicit. In addition, Whole Foods recently announced a new initiative to require labeling of GMO products from its own suppliers by 2018.

Down to Earth Organic & Natural, Hawaii's largest locally founded retailer, also gives preference to foods verified by the Non-GMO Project, and announced Monday that it will require GMO foods to be labeled by 2018.

Considering that laboratory-engineered crop cultivation is not quite two decades old, GMO products have achieved a stunning market penetration in the U.S. A report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications puts the GMO domination of the feed corn supply at 88 percent; 95 percent of the nation's sugar beets and 94 percent of the soybeans are genetically engineered, too.

Consumers should have far better information about what they eat, but given this reality, it's the federal government, not the state, that's empowered to ensure that its citizens get what they need".

Now for my letter-to-the-editor:

"GMOs are good? Then label them.
In the Sunday Star-Advertiser, James Brewbaker wrote and interesting letter about the non-scientific validity of GMO hysteria ("Hysteria over GMOs not scientifically valid, " Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 10).

Let's assume for the moment that he is absolutely correct.
For one, if GMOs pose no health threat whatsoever, why have they been banned in more that 20 countries and two, why would the GMO creators have any objection whatsoever to label them? My goodness, if they are so good and they are labeled, people will come in droves to buy them once they know what and where they are.

Could it be the fact that they are so adamant about not labeling GMOs is the reason that people are not clamoring for it now?

If GMOs are so good, they should put their money where their mouths are and label them".

Anyone in the U.S. who reads this can do several things. First they can bombard their Senators and Representatives in Washington and remind them that s#@thead Obama promised he would call for the mandatory labeling of GMOs when he ran for the Presidency in 2008.

Second, they can tell their Senators and Representatives that if they truly are representatives of the PEOPLE, they should initiate labeling bills.

Third, they can contact John Mackey, a hypocrite vegetarian who has made a fortune selling dead animal flesh, and tell him he does not have to wait 5 years to get started. Why can't he put signs in all his stores telling people that soy, corn and cotton products, not labeled organic run a really good chance of being GMO and people should buy at their own risk? ([email protected]).

Fourth, they can tell Mackey that you know that Canola oil is genetically modified and not only should he stop selling it but he should stop using it the Whole Foods meal areas.

Fifth, contact Mark Fergusson ([email protected]) and tell him the same things about labeling soy, corn, and cotton products, and using Canola oil if he truly has his customers' interests at heart.

FYI, Mark is a "bean-counter" that considers the bottom-line above all else and is a hard guy to get through to. But, if he hears it enough, he actually may listen. Bury him in emails. He really needs it.

Oh yeah, if anyone liked my letter, feel free to use it in any way you want, modified or not, and I do not need to be given credit. You can use your name.

Aloha

About the author:
I have been doing a weekly radio show in Honolulu since 1981 called "Health Talk". In 2007 I was "forced" to get a Masters degree in Nutrition because of all the doctors that would call in asking for my credentials. They do not call in anymore. Going to www.healthtalkhawaii.com enables you, among other things, to listen to the shows. I am an activist. In addition to espousing an organic vegan diet for optimum health, I am strongly opposed to GMOs, vaccines, processed foods, MSG, aspartame, fluoridation and everything else that the pimps (Big Pharma, Monsanto and the large food companies) and the hookers (the doctors, the government agencies, the public health officials, and the mainstream media) thrust upon us, the tricks.
After being vaccinated with the DTP vaccine as a child I developed asthma. After taking the organic sulfur crystals (they are harvested from the pine trees in Louisiana) in November of 2008 for 10 days my asthma reversed and has not come back over 4 years later, 18 cases, so far, of autism have been reversed, as has cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, osteoarthritis, joint pain, astigmatism, gum disease, increased sexual activity, heavy metal and radiation elimination, parasite elimination, free radicals elimination, faster athletic recovery time, increased blood circulation, reduced inflammation, resistance to getting the flu, reduction of wrinkles, allergy reduction, reduced PMS and monthly period pain, nausea, migraines and so much more. And it's only possible because of the oxygen it releases that floods the cells of the body. The sulfur, as proven by the University of Southampton in England, enables the body to produce vitamin B12 and the essential amino acids. You can find out more about this incredible nutrient also on my website - www.healthtalkhawaii.com -.
My book, "a Sane Diet For An Insane World", has been published. It can be viewed at
www.asanediet.com.

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