So the state of Oregon has an upcoming vote on "Measure 92" that would require any genetically modified foods be labeled as such to be legally sold in Oregon. Because, well, the advocates say 60 other countries have similar requirements so why not the US?
Yeah well, that's Oregon, and this is Ohio, right? Yeah, well, we are spending $200 million on a faddish streetcar in Cincinnati almost entirely because the folks of Portland, Oregon claim great success with their streetcar. So maybe we should pay attention to the political tides in Oregon, since they have a way of washing up here.
So here are some examples of the rhetoric you can find at "Oregon Right to Know"
"Independant Thinker Everybody has a right to know if they are being fed Frankenfood or food that is chemical laden. Take our food back to the 1950's when the worst we had to worry about was how much sugar or salt was in the food."
"Leon Selle If you wish to accomplish something, quit the rhetoric. Rather, become knowledgeable, do not buy food products that are genetically modified, and patronize not companies/corporations that promote same, even if your favorite uncle, or brother, or even, yourself, own stock in Mansanto and etc."
This isn't about 'choice'
If GMO right-to-know labeling wasn't also such an obvious -- and often unjustified -- proxy for "DON'T EAT THIS FRANKENFOOD," I'd have no problem with insisting on more labeling. Of course people should know what goes into their food.
But this isn't really about just labeling. The people who want labeling want it so that they can avoid buying it. They flat-out say so. And that's OK. People should be free to choose what they want to buy.
But it's not even close to being limited to informing people so they can make "choices." The advocates want labeling to identify the targets for boycotts and publicity campaigns to scare YOU into not buying GMO products regardless of the lack of evidence that these foods pose any risk. Think about it. Millions of people already have consumed such foods without any evidence of rising harm at the population level. Higher percentages of people are living longer now -- and in better health along the way -- than they ever have in human history.
Look at the numbers. Cancer death rates are FALLING not rising.
But the advocates don't care about such trends. They also don't really care about choice. You might actually like GMO products -- they grow bigger, have fewer flaws, last longer on the shelves, make it possible for foods to be shipped long distances so lots of people can enjoy formerly regional-only foods, and yes, some even taste better. But the advocates still want to pressure food makers to stop making and using GMO products even if only a small percentage of people are actually upset. Beyond that, they want state governments and, ultimately, the federal government to ban GMOs; thus taking away YOUR choice in the name of giving you a choice.
Slogans are not facts
When you start hearing the scare-tactic slogans, that's when you can feel assured that you are not hearing truth anymore.
So if you really want to know about GMOs -- as opposed to fearing them -- then try peeking outside the advocacy echo chambers and learn some actual science. Find out about why GMOs exist and why we will need more of them, not less.
Humanity will need GMO foods to survive
Amusingly, lots of anti-science people choose to put faith into scientists who believe that mankind is responsible for climate change; yet they conveniently ignore the fact that very few scientists are against GMOs. Well, if you believe climate change is real (I know I do) then you also should know that humanity will need genetic modification of food to survive climate change. Regardless of the finger pointing over who or what caused the climate change, the change will be all too real and flash freezing an entire galaxy of agri-scientific advances with yet another anti-science political campaign would not be wise.
The rich people of the First World might be able to afford paying double or triple for low-yield, short-shelf-life "organic" foods, but millions and billions of poor people on much of the rest of the planet will not be so lucky. Use a cynical "frankenfood" labeling campaign to stop the GMOs and watch populations starve in decades to come as non-modified staple crops fail to adjust "naturally" to shifting rainfall, temperatures, growing seasons, etc. And that's just the weather. There's also an ongoing need to act faster than nature simply to defend the crop yields we already have achieved from constantly evolving diseases, blights and crop-destroying pests. None of that evolution will stop if we close down the "evil" labs of Monsanto & Co.
Keep the pitchforks in the barn
So yes, let's keep people informed about GMOs...but let's tell the whole story. Let's put GMOs in the context of uncounted generations of farmers and scientists who have saved every city dweller in our fast-growing world population from starvation by using science to get more food to grow from limited plots of land. Will there be abuses, mistakes and failures that result in some GMOs being useless or even harmful instead of helpful? Yep. But let's save our outrage for those situations when we have evidence that GMOs really do pose serious risks, vs. banning them because "we just don't know about that genetic stuff, we think they might be dangerous, someday, maybe." And let's be honestly grateful for the GMOs that have made life much, much better for many, many people -- even though the improved, heartier crops were engineered by the very same companies that also created Agent Orange, or whatever bogeyman chemical the anti-science advocates trot out.
But until that unlikely day of enlightenment, I'm not interested in helping any anti-GMO mobs light more torches for their march toward an imaginary Frankenstein's corporate headquarters.