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15 November 2014 - GMO Labeling Issue - Resolve it Nationally

In addition to choosing Governors and Senators in 36 states, and all 435 members of the House on election day this year, voters in two states also had the issue of GMO labeling on the ballot. In both states, Colorado and Oregon, those who wanted GMO labeling of all foods lost, by a wide margin in Colorado, by a close margin in Oregon.

Let me discuss this issue again because we saw the same labeling issue defeated in California a couple of years ago and in Washington state a year ago. What really bothers me about all of this? The amount of money that is spent, for and against. When you add up the dollars spent by those in favor of labeling and those against labeling in those four elections, the total amount of money spent comes to nearly $100-million dollars.

Think of how many people those dollars could have fed if they were given to local food pantries across the country. Yet, instead, it was pumped into advertising campaigns for labeling and against labeling. Far and away, the most money was raised by those food and agricultural companies involved in GMO’s, and they spent a lot more than those who wanted the labeling, but that’s not the point.

We have been consuming foods containing GMO’s for three decades and why do we now have to label that specific technology. In most cases, consumers can’t answer the question when asked what GMO’s are and do. They don’t know how many more people on the planet would starve and how many acres of fragile land would have to be brought into production if we didn’t have this technology. And to those who are fearful GMO’s will kill you, I would quote a network TV reporter, who after doing research on the subject, said “Show me the bodies.”

But if we must have labeling, let’s put an end to this state-by-state balloting on the genetically modified issue. If we are going to have GMO labeling, make it a national labeling law passed by Congress.

Let me again explain why GMO’s are with us today. Back in the 70's I received countless letters from non-farmers saying. . . “Quit using pesticides and insecticides on foods that end up on my dinner table. They are poison. I don’t want them even close to my food.”

Farmers and agricultural companies listened, and they developed genetically modified organisms in crops that have greatly reduced the use of pesticides and insecticides in crop protection products. That is why they are here. Consumers asked for safer products and now some of them are protesting their use, based on emotion, not science. What’s a producer to do?

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