Maine GMO labeling fight: why not us?
The debate over GMO labeling continues to puzzle me. I have lived in two continents—United States and Europe. As world leaders on so many levels, I find both of these continents to contain many similar traits, but when it comes to GMOs the line is drawn. Here in the United States—the world’s superpower—GMOs are everywhere. In our foods, in our fields and in our bodies. In Europe, GMOs are illegal. Many countries in Europe have banned parabens as well, but that’s for another blog.
But first let’s go back and define GMO to better understand the fight taking place across the Atlantic. GMO crops have their DNA altered artificially. In other words the GMO process would not happen in nature.
According to the latest reports, 19 countries in the European Union have a complete ban or severe restrictions on GMOs.
This fight between GMO labeling is a multi-million dollar fight. In Europe when people go to the market and select their fruits and vegetables they are guaranteed one thing—their foods are created by nature. When I go to the supermarket with my kids here in the United States, only organic foods pose no risk of GMO. There are countless aisles filled with GMO products. But my friends in Europe are spared this exposure. That is about to change here in the United States.
In Vermont the state’s GMO labeling bill law goes into effect by July 2016. “Vermonters take our food and how it is produced seriously, and we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.
The bad news is that I don’t live in Vermont. I am puzzled because it just doesn’t seem fair. I mean, we don’t need to do the math here—that’s one out of 49 states. Around the world, 19 countries have banned GMOs all together. To go even further, GMO labeling is required in 64 countries. Can you begin to see why I am puzzled the world’s superpower is not on the list.
Yesterday, President Obama weighed in on the Flint water contamination crisis. During an appearance in Detroit he turned his attention to the crisis in Flint reminding officials that this “is a reminder of why you can’t shortchange basic services that we provide to our people; and that we together provide as government to make sure that the public health and safety is preserved,” Obama said.
When I read this yesterday it brought me back to the GMO battleground, and how some states are fed up being the underdog. This week news broke that tension is mounting regarding the state’s laws regarding GMO labeling.
China, the European Union and 40% of the world’s population have GMO labeling. Here in the United States over $100 million has been spent to stop us from knowing what’s in our food.
The fight is beginning to get personal as more people are asking: “Why us and not them?”