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Goodman writes: "People were never given a choice (not in the U.S. anyway) as to whether or not their food would contain GM ingredients, or if they had a right to know."

90 percent of citizens support mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods. (photo: Friends Eat)
90 percent of citizens support mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods. (photo: Friends Eat)

Just Label It: Let the People Decide

By Jim Goodman, Common Dreams

29 October 12


've farmed all my life and I have to tell you, all food is not the same. No food or farming system is perfect, but as farmers, as citizens, we should not be forced to accept a globalized, industrialized, genetically modified system of agricultural production.

I have farmed with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and livestock hormones, and was lucky enough to jump off that ship before it went completely under the waves. I experienced the shortcomings and failures of pesticides, antibiotics and the system in general. I was concerned for the health of my family, my livestock and the soil, so I got out.

I dropped out of the conventional farming system (seeing organic production as a better, safer and more productive alternative) just as the revolution of genetic modification (GM) and its "promise" to feed the world was being forced upon the world.

When I say forced, I mean just that.

People were never given a choice (not in the U.S. anyway) as to whether or not their food would contain GM ingredients, or if they had a right to know. If you eat food with processed ingredients, you are eating GM ingredients.

Despite clear indications of health risks, our government maintains that food with GM content is substantially equivalent to non-GM, therefore labeling is not required.

When GM crops resistant to the weed killer Roundup were introduced, farmers were promised that one application of the herbicide was all they would ever need. Dream on. I watch spray rigs running across neighboring fields from April to November. Roundup is no longer doing the job; the promise of less chemical application was a false promise.

Some farmers still grow non-GM crops but it is increasingly difficult to get non-GM seed. If GM pollen contaminates their non-GM crops, it's their fault their crops got in the way. And of course, since that crop now has GM genetics, GM kingpin Monsanto et al. can sue them for stealing patented crop varieties.

Our current food system, dominated by intensive farming practices (notably GM crops), is a system that is failing in so many ways.

It is a system that has destroyed rural economies worldwide.

A system that contributes to an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, food allergies, heart disease and cancer for some, while at the same time allowing hunger to persist for others.

A system that that is controlled by multi-national corporations whose interest is profit, not healthy food, not land stewardship, and certainly not fair prices for farmers.

Peter Rosset tells us, food is different. "It is not a typical commodity because it affects so many people and the environment in such intimate ways".

Food production and food choice should be controlled by farmers and those who eat, not corporations, and not politicians.

While some feel that the cheapest food is the best food, people are not stupid, they want to be able to make choices about the food they buy. This is why California Proposition 37 is such a critical ballot initiative. It's so simple, food with GM content should be labeled as such so people can make a choice.

If GM is so safe, so necessary, so full of promise, why are corporate interests so opposed to labeling it?

If it is the answer, why, as a technology, does it need special treatment from government regulators?

California voters have a short time, as Ferlinghetti might say "a time of useful consciousness", to decide if they are entitled to make choices about their food -- time to decide if their right to know is more important than Monsanto's bank account.

As California goes, so goes the nation, just label it. your social media marketing partner


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+12 # SundownLF 2012-10-29 22:04
I've almost had my mind changed through those - incredibly convincing - commercials AGAINST Proposition 37, but then I look at which corporation is strongly in the forefront of the anti-37 money, and it is MONSANTO. So, I'm back to my original position of voting FOR Prop 37!

But, damn, those anti-37 commercials are SO strong and convincing...bu t I guess they should be, given the mostly-anonymou s money that has poured into producing them.

I wish I weren't susceptible to ads such as these, but I really find myself too easily swayed, almost like being a low-information voter! Again, I have to remember who is behind these convincing ads and go with that knowledge.

+4 # Street Level 2012-10-29 23:25
Sundown, These mega corporations have honed their attack on labeling in many countries before hitting California.

They have forged the FDA logo with a false claim of endorsement that they sent out to millions of homes, they had to pull a commercial for falsely involving Stanford University and most recently claiming that the San Francisco Chronicle was against Prop 37 when they actually endorse it. In short, they're liars and they're good at it.

Over 40 million dollars to prevent us from knowing what we're eating and feeding our families.
Over 60 countries label their GMO's including China and Russia. Haiti burned their GMO crops, Brazil and the EU has banned them, India is halting new experimental plantings and Japan just rejected a billion dollar soy shipment from us because it tested for positive for GMO contamination.

This stuff hurts us, our farmers, pollinators and our economy. We can't export it, no one wants it and the US and Canada are their last big markets.

If you are still feeling swayed, go to and remember that you are voting for your rights on November 6.
+1 # Sacrebleu! 2012-10-30 21:37
Unfortunately Monsanto used the EU label mandate (before the ban) to force legalization on countries such as Uruguay. There was a moratorium sine die -essentially a ban- in place there and people could not legally grow GMO.

Then Monsanto organized what was quickly dubbed a white market - essentially very cheap GMO seeds smuggled over the border in white bags (hence the name white market) and either sold them dirt cheap or simply seeded them in fields over the non-GMO crop.
When the harvest was sent to Europe and was found to contain GMO (for -yes- Europe does not only required GMO labelling, it also verifies), the harvests were refused because they were not labelled, dealing a huge blow to Uruguayan economy and forcing the authorization of GMO so that the harvests could be labelled.

Of course, now, with the EU ban in place it does not make any difference, except that GMO is legal and pervasive in Uruguay - and of course the prices have "readjusted". Up.
+1 # WolfTotem 2012-10-31 03:21
Don't sigh, SundownLF - YOU'VE GOT IT RIGHT!

There are two crucial dangers. The first is common to all new technological development: if it can be done, it WILL be done. Regardless of whether it makes sense or just adds to the accumulation of new and totally unnecessary dangers. You could call this the Sorceror's Apprentice principle.

The second danger especially concerns GM. Who's using it as a tool? And for what purpose?

For profit. So be it. Except that there's no necessary connection between corporate profits and human necessity. And here there's more than mere profit involved. As used by Monsanto et al, GM provides a key to monopoly control of world food supplies.

And that ceases to be merely the key to market control. With it, the whole world can be held to ransom.

The Mad Scientist plotting world domination has escaped from pulp fiction into real life.

+4 # Mrcead 2012-10-30 03:23
If we are defeated at the polls on this matter then concerned consumers will simply seek out all GMO laden foods and create a list of them so people can at least see the product in all of it's marketing glory since a picture is worth 1000 words and works much better than a label. You will instantly pick a competitor's product.

Companies tampering with a market must be punished.
+1 # WolfTotem 2012-10-31 02:22
Markets are supposed to offer choice to consumers.

But in an oligarchy like what America's become, with democracy and democratic controls ousted from the nest by corporate cuckoos, the only choice is on the supply side.

This makes for the development of technologies that are like cars with great acceleration and no brakes.

Democracy's a living system - it needs constant use and nurture to survive, let alone thrive. Exercise your remaining democratic rights, before they're taken from you!

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