I liken the GMO debate to what I grew up learning about the decades the tobacco industry knowingly sold products that caused death to the general public. Thalidomide, DDT and their ilk was another learning process for everyone. On one side you have profiteer’s willing to say anything to promote their product to enrich them even though it is to the detriment of the very consumer that makes them rich. The GMO debate walks like tobacco, sounds like tobacco and smells like tobacco and is history repeating itself.
You have the industrial food complex spending millions if not billions already on sending out misinformation to confuse consumers about the relative safety of GMO products. On the other side, you have formal, yet independent findings that show detriments to the environment (super weeds and bugs), upper-respiratory issues (increase in asthma suffers, even when increase in population is taken into account), endocrine problems in predictor species (bass and bullfrogs feminized by Atrazine), food-born allergies, anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria, the list just seems to keep growing. When growing up I did not know of anyone who had a peanut allergy. I know they must have existed but today, we have people that are dangerously allergic to peanut, gluten, lactose, soy, egg, latex, shellfish and others.
Corporations are telling us GMO’s are safe, so did big tobacco and the chemical companies about their products in the 1950 and 60’s. Just look at who supplied money to the anti-gmo labeling initiatives in California prop-37 and Washington’s I-522 initiatives. Then you have independent researchers finding out there are detriments to the product. Big tobacco brought out study after study verifying their claim that held cigarettes harmless. You hear there is no science to support GMO and cancer links. At one point in time there was no scientific evidence that linked lung, lymphoma and other cancers to cigarettes.
Our history is fraught with corporations going after profit over the safety of the consumer, which is why we have some consumer protection laws. Having grown-up witnessing the ravages of tobacco’s toll on my family and seeing the ills of DDT and thalidomide babies makes me more acute to what claims are being presented and sold to me and by whom.
When first introduced GMO’s were sold based on farmers having to use less herbicides and insecticides in the field, saving them money while increasing yields. Now, independent research is proving otherwise. We have the advent of super-weeds and bugs that have become resistant, causing the need for even more and stronger chemicals. Then there are the other industrialized nations, in the world, that have banned GMO’s.
Right now, what I see from both sides harkens back to the 60’s and 70’s when big tobacco was desperately trying to keep their secrets hidden and that hits too close to home. If GMO’s are safe, why not label and let the consumer make the choice, even if they are not safe, people still choose to smoke.
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