Midterm Elections 2014: GMO Labeling Update

IMG_8910Yesterday’s elections resulted in huge upsets for multiple progressive ballot measures, including the GMO labeling initiatives in Colorado and Oregon. Both bills failed to pass, with 66% of votes against the Colorado initiative and 51% of votes against the Oregon initiative.

GMO labeling has been a subject of great debate for over a decade, and once again, the opposition poured millions of dollars into this year’s election, creating a situation where the honest and informative messaging of pro-labeling campaigns was diluted by expensive media ads paid for by corporations. The biotech companies and conventional food corporations opposed to the labeling of GE foods continue to focus their message on “feed the world”, but remain silent on the human health implications that are the results of increased pesticide and herbicide use on GM crops.

I have done a fair share of research on GMO’s and GMO legislation during my two years on the Protect Our Breasts Executive Board; in fact I am a bit obsessed with the topic because of the allure of controversy that surrounds it. I am in favor of labeling genetically engineered food because it presents all consumers with the opportunity to make a decision about the food they put in their bodies– informed or not. I agree with the non-profit organizations and food activists that advocate for consumers’ right to know about what’s in their food, and I also strongly support Protect Our Breasts’ goal to continuously share information regarding the chemical repercussions of genetically modified foods. There needs to be a stronger push for knowledge and fact-based information, so that consumers understand that they are at risk when buying foods that are neither organic nor non-GMO.

As a member of the “millennial” generation, I crave a cut and dry method of achieving progress, and in this specific case, progress in the realm of food policy. I want and expect clean food, free from pesticides that are also endocrine disrupting chemicals, because I have the right to make my own decisions when skimming the grocery store aisles- decisions that may determine the future of my health. We must continue to demand safer chemicals and safer food from the companies and stores that provide us with our favorite everyday products, so that we can create a shift in the supply chain that will determine the future of safer products for all.

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