Labeling Our Future

Is the GMO experiment already too big to fail?


Published:

Currently, 64 countries around the world have labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods but the U.S is not one of them. According to The Center For Food Safety, 80% of the processed foods sold in the U.S. contain genetically engineered ingredients, and although scientists have warned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that genetically engineered foods may introduce risks to our food supply, warnings are being ignored. The FDA currently views genetically engineered foods the same as non-engineered foods based on outdated regulations and a material assessment stating that if foods taste and smell the same, they are the same.1

How is food genetically engineered? In short, the genetic engineering of a plant, animal, bacteria, virus or any living organism or microorganism involves using biotechnology to transfer DNA from one species to another to make new life forms. These new living things would never be found in nature. For example, corn DNA might be crossed with a virus or goat DNA crossed with a spider – these are actual examples. Food products produced in this way through biotechnology are referred to as GMOs (genetically modified organisms.) The term, popularized by the media, is now the default term used by most everyone even though it is scientifically incorrect in some cases.

Labeling proponents point out that agribusinesses have gotten away with hiding GMOs in our food supply for decades. They hold that organic food and irradiated foods are labeled, and it follows that GMO foods should be labeled as well. Although polls and studies have shown that 90% of Americans want GMO foods labeled, industry continues to vehemently oppose such labeling.2

Historically, the first GMO plant — antibiotic resistant tobacco — was introduced in the U.S. in 1983.3 It is surprising how many crops are now GMOs, but these items cannot be identified by us at the market, i.e., corn, soybeans, cotton, potato, tomato, wheat, canola, rice, papaya, squash and melon. USDA statistics show that in 2014 over 90% of corn and soy production was genetically engineered, and that in the U.S., farmers planted about half of the total land available with GMO crops.     

Large food and chemical corporations have invested heavily in biotechnology and the genetic engineering of food because this new science can increase profits in a number of ways. Proponents say that genetic engineering of crops can increase crop yields by controlling pests and diseases during food production, reduce the need for insecticides and herbicides, allow foods to be grown in unfavorable climates, hasten maturation of growing food and extend shelf life of a product. That is all well and good but what about errors that might contaminate or kill off a natural species? What about the effects of GMOs on people who are allergic or sensitive? From a nutrition and wellness point of view, it seems like it would be better for consumers to know where these GMOs are so we can have the option to avoid them.

Large agribusinesses are marketing GMO foods without labeling, while the FDA makes no determination of safety. The FDA has guidelines but these do not include the compositional, nutritional, toxicological or metabolic effects of these products nor the differences between conventional foods and GMO foods. Corporations meet with the FDA only on a volunteer basis as each new engineered species is released.4 Shouldn’t a formal review be required to determine whether these experimental and largely untested foods are dangerous for consumption first?

The pro-labeling movement tells us that scientific studies show there is a definite cause for concern around human and animal consumption of GMOs involving toxins, allergens, antibiotic resistance and immune suppression.5 Of great concern are animal studies showing low dose exposure over a long period causing tumors and organ damage as well as negative effects on gut microbiota.6,7 Why have companies been able to include GMO products in our food supply without labeling or formal tracking? The short answer is that Congress and the FDA has allowed it even though many corporations and members of Congress do support GMO labeling.  

Since the FDA has failed to take action to require labeling at the federal level, states have taken the lead in promoting GMO labeling. In 2013, Connecticut and Maine passed labeling laws, and Vermont's law will go into effect in 2016. According to JustLabelIt.org, as of December 2015, 54 bills have been introduced across 26 states.

In response, large chemical corporations have teamed up with agricultural firms to pour millions of dollars into defeating federal efforts to pass labeling requirement laws. Lobbying and campaign spending in Washington by corporate anti-labeling groups have made pro-labeling efforts fail by narrow margins. The anti-labeling lobby, backed by industry, recently introduced a bill that would prevent states from crafting their own labeling requirement bills as well as prevent any future federal laws, but it was defeated in Congress in December 2015. It was being called the DARK (Deny Americans their Right to Know) Act by the pro-label movement. Labeling proponents expect more opposition from industry going forward.

What can you do as a citizen and a consumer in regard to labeling of GMO foods? You can voice your opinion to your congressional representatives. If you believe that genetically engineered foods should be labeled, groups such as JustLabelIt.org, The Environmental Working Group and the Center for Food Safety have quick links on their websites to immediately send your views to your representatives.

You can also choose to speak with your wallet and purchase only from local farmers and avoid items like farmed salmon that was approved as a new GMO species by the FDA in November 2015. Buying USDA certified organic products comes with a guarantee that your food won’t contain GMOs; this is the only certification, by law, that prohibits GMOs in products.  Some products have been labeled “Non-GMO” by various food organizations but these designations are not guaranteed by law to be a standard of purity.

Looking at the big picture, labeling GMOs seems worthy of attention because it is a global issue that affects us all. Seeds, seafood products, farmed crops and animals are imported and exported globally and any of these might be genetically engineered. In the U.S., the absence of labeling and formal traceability systems is worrisome since there is no method of tracking GMOs in case of contamination or error.

Mark Spitznagel and N.M. Taleb of the New York Times point out in the article “Another Too Big To Fail System in GMOs” that, “The GMO experiment, carried out in real time and with our entire food and ecological system as its laboratory, is perhaps the greatest case of human hubris ever.” Labeling GMOs would at least be a starting point to give consumers more information and a choice about the food we are eating. In addition, agricultural firms, chemical corporations and food producers would be forced to abide by lawful accountability practices in regard to GMOs in our food supply.

Notes
1. Center for Food Safety.
2. JustLabelIt.org.
3. Bawa, A.S., Anilakumar, K.R. “Geneticaly modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns – a review.” J Food Sci Technol. Nov-Dec. 2013. 50(6):1035-1046
4. Ref. 1
5. Ref. 2
6. Seralini et al., “Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.” Environmental Sciences Europe, 2014.
7. Ref. 3

Beth Colon, M.S., is a holistic nutrition and wellness counselor and owner of Holistic Nutrition Services LLC. She practices at The Healing and Wellness Center in Westborough, MA. Beth specializes in digestive health and is a certified GAPS practitioner. Contact Beth at (978) 340-0448 or visit www.HolisticNutritionServices.com.

See also:
Threatened By Powerful Voice, Industry ‘Attack Dog’ Hired To Discredit Teenage Anti-GMO Activist
New England Journal Of Medicine Article Calls For GMO Labels On Foods
Setting the Record Straight on GMOs

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

October 20, 2017

A trio of planets in early Scorpio, comprised of Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon, fans flames of hope today. The intrepid threesome is nicely aligned with mystical Neptune. Spiritual, as well as altruistic and artistic leanings are brilliantly served…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2017

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Barbara Blanchard Headaches are a common clinical condition that can benefit from acupuncture and acupressure treatment. This workshop will study the different types of headaches as defined...

Cost: $125 students, $175 professionals

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

All-day retreat, including meal, movement, morning and afternoon experiential sessions. Limited spots, pre-registration required. Email Kyle@PortalCrystalGallery.com or visit...

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Mass Ave.
Arlington, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
Website »

More information

Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

One-of-a-kind, life changing holistic health education program again being offered free of charge Local business owner shares groundbreaking mind-body-spirit course to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Beginner Kripalu Yoga with Lisa Davidson Brand new to yoga or returning after a break, this class is kind and challenging for your body, relaxing and destressing for your mind, and will help you...

Cost: $113 for 7 weeks

Where:
A Yoga Leaf
@ Whimsy
686 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA  01702
View map »


Sponsor: Lisa Davidson
Contact Name: Lisa Davidson
Website »

More information

A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Christopher Penczak discusses how you can call upon Michael for aid in your own life and to help the planet. Explore the lore and magick of this beloved figure who crosses many cultures and...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
View map »


Telephone: 978-474-8010
Website »

More information

October 18 - 20, 2017  With Renée Starr Ladies, reclaim your sacredness, awaken your devotion, and become the magic you seek. Details at www.goddesspriestesswitch.com. ...

Where:
ZuZu's Healing Arts
122 West Emerson
Melrose, MA  02176
View map »


Telephone: 781-665-8844
Website »

More information

This gentle yoga class is good for all skill levels. Scheduled perfectly in the middle of your week; the movements will be a welcome respite to your usual morning routine.

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

With Lisa Rockenmacher and Kristan Bishop Looking for a deeper connection with bliss? Seeking practical ways to increase wellness and health in all aspect of your life? Do you desire a...

Cost: $100

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
Website »

More information

Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

Cost: $180

Where:
Integrated Psychotherapy
31 Hastings Street
Mendon, MA  01756
View map »


Telephone: 508-335-6732
Contact Name: Sherri Snyder, MA, LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

​One Night Only in Portland! Enlightened Spiritual Teacher Dave Oshana! Experience the transformational miracles of the enlightenment transmission. Enjoy the freedom to be your true self!...

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Where:
Z Dance Club
1844 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
View map »


Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Telephone: 207-443-7001
Contact Name: Maryanna Bock
Website »

More information

What are smudge fans, and what are they used for? Smudging is probably best known as a Native American ritual, although smudging has been used since ancient times by many people as a ceremony of...

Cost: $25

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

More information

In this 220-hour, one-year program with lead trainer Hari Kaur, you will become an instructor and learn the fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga.

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

People get ready! We are going to stir it up! One time only! Join Chuck Raffoni (Relax and Recharge with Chuck) for a night of Broga® Yoga, Bob Marley and Brews at Western Ave. Studios in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Western Ave Studios
122 Western Ave
Lowell, MA  01851
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Certification in Core Energetics with directors Karyne Wilner, PsyD and Charles Corley, Med. For heart-centered psychotherapists and body-mind healers. Training begins October 20.

Where:
Middletown, RI


Telephone: 401-316-7401
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 21 - 22, 2017 A two-day training facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese...

Cost: $190

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Do you desire more connection and nourishing touch?  Do you find it hard to ask for what you really would like in life and in the bedroom? Do you want to improve your confidence and...

Cost: $97

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
17 Spring St
Watertown, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags