Sunday, July 31, 2011


"After almost two decades of "eating" GM foods by the people in the United States, the country is still surviving", seems to be the stand of those who do not find any danger in the wide scale use of this much abhorred technology and want to convert the whole world agriculture into a GM based regime! If this stand is really based on solid science, why is that in entire Europe one can scarcely see any GM versions of common foods on the retail shelves? Not because they are totally banned but due to the law that permits the industry to use them, provided the same is clearly labeled! Why is that the industry is afraid of labeling? Because they are afraid of consumer backlash! No consumer, given a choice, will opt for GM foods and obviously one can imagine the impact of transparent labeling on the bottom line of the industry! Against such a context why is that more than 80% of the foods in the US are GM component based with hardly any murmur from the consumers against this aberration? It could have happened only because of the temerity on the part of the safety agency there in enforcing compulsory labeling of GM foods! Does not this amount to force feeding the population of a nation with foods that they might not consume, given a choice? Probably that is the price American consumer pays for being "admired' as a citizen of the most "powerful" and "wealthy" country in the Universe.

"The Achilles heel of Monsanto and the biotech industry is consumers' right to know. If GE-tainted foods are labeled in supermarkets and natural food stores, a massive rejection of chemical and GMO foods will take place, transforming the marketplace and supercharging the organic and local foods revolution. The biotech industry has been aware of their tremendous vulnerability in the United States ever since Monsanto forced their controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone on the market in February 1994. In the wake of nationwide "Frankenfood" protests and milk dumps, industry made sure that no federal labeling or safety testing would be required. As the biotechnocrats understand full well, mandatory GE food labels will cripple the industry: consumers will not buy gene-altered foods, farmers will not plant them, restaurants and food processors will avoid them, and grocery stores will not sell them. How can we be certain about this? By looking at the experience of the European Union, the largest agricultural market in the world. In the EU there are almost no genetically engineered crops under cultivation or GE consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Not because GE crops are automatically banned in Europe. But rather because under EU law, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients must be labeled".

One need not agree with all the views and opinions expressed by antagonists of GM foods but at least demanding the right of the consumer to know what food is eaten cannot be denied and the American government is as guilty as governments in many totalitarian countries that roughshod over human rights. Look at the dichotomy of policy making under which irradiated foods, proven safe time and again, need to be labeled while controversy-ridden GM foods need not! The awareness march by many organizations of concerned people in October this year from the United Nations Office in New York to the White House, the seat of power in the US, in Washington DC is precisely to focus on this issue. They want to impress upon the President of the country the seriousness of the issue and to reclaim their "right to know" about the presence of GM components in the food they are eating. This can be a defining moment in the history of human rights assertion in a country, claiming to be most democratic in the world.


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