GMOs and your right to know

The countryside has been filled with tractors plowing and planting crops for this year. About all that can be seen from horizon to horizon are fields dedicated to growing genetically modified, or genetically engineered, corn and soybeans. This is Indiana. The final destinations for these crops following harvest this fall will be livestock feed and, in one form or another, food for our tables. No one will know though because none will be labeled, “GMO”, or genetically modified.

Corn or Soy Beans: Take Your Pick

Corn or Soy Beans: Take Your Pick

Labeling is required for GMO’s in about 65 countries worldwide. These include all of Europe, Australia, Japan, Russia, South Africa and dozens of others. Some countries ban genetically modified foods altogether. One must wonder if other countries know something the United States does not. The big seed and chemical corporations do not want labels. So far, they have successfully stopped labeling in this country. They do not want people to know GMOs are in the food they eat. It is a secret to be kept by them only.

There are many questions about genetically modified foods and their long term safety for people and the environment. More and more evidence is accumulating saying all is not well. All is not well for people and animals that eat these foods. All is not well for the natural environment and the genetic contamination GMOs bring. All is not well with the use of the toxic chemical poisons, herbicides and pesticides, used on crops or in the case of GMO corn with the pesticide that each cell of the plant produces on its own in every plant cell and corn kernel. All is not well with the pesticide residues on harvested crops. All is not well. But all that is to be kept secret, too.

The historical record shows that even the scientists in the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) were concerned about the safety of genetically modified crops over 20 years ago. That did not matter because those who approved GMOs were political appointees. One key appointee at the FDA was an attorney for a firm that did legal work for Monsanto before coming to the FDA. Although he has been in and out of the FDA and Monsanto more than once, he is now in a key food safety position at the FDA

Many states have had GMO labeling legislation introduced, including Indiana. The most visible one was California. Big agriculture and food corporations spent about $45 million on a publicity campaign to narrowly defeat Proposition 37 there. Private Citizens who believe they have a right to know what is in their food could not match that kind of steamrolling propaganda effort. One wonders what there is to hide if millions are spent to defeat a law that would openly tell people what is in their food.

The controversy about GMOs and poisons, pesticides, is reminiscent of the tobacco companies that kept people in the dark for decades about the bad or even catastrophic long term health effects of smoking. Tobacco corporate executives lied to Congress. The largest GMO seed and chemical corporation that wants us to trust it is the one that gave us DDT, Dioxin, PCBs, and Agent Orange.

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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