There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the development and federal approval of genetically-modified foods (or organisms), also known as GMOs.
Currently, California is getting ready to vote on Proposition 37 in November, which would require foods (i.e. spaghetti sauce, cereal, breads and most recently, a “non-browning” apple) that contain GMOs (transgenic) to state as much on their labels so that consumers can choose whether to buy these items, or not.
Not surprisingly, companies that produce GMOs are opposed to labeling because it could lead to consumers avoiding these foods.
There also are groups, worldwide, calling for a ban on genetically-modified foods (in some countries, they are already banned) because opponents feel not enough research has been done on long-term effects on the human body after consuming these foods (i.e. corn).
For example, a Monsanto-brand of corn is genetically engineered to release its own insecticide.
Opponents say that the insecticide also kills beneficial insects – such as honey bees, which are necessary for pollinating plants so that the plants can form new seeds.
Just Label It video
Other opponents are concerned about the impact on the natural world.
Video about connection between bees and GMOs (full-length video can be viewed on YouTube at http://youtu.be/UCqwQmS1KXw )
Bees are also of concern today because of “bee die-off.” Without bees, human beings will not have vegetable foods to eat, and the animals we eat will not have food to eat (grain, corn, etc.) either.
Beneficial insects also are necessary to control the populations of non-beneficial insects.
Proponents of GMOs say they will help produce more food, particularly in countries where there is danger of famine because, for example, they are less susceptible to disease or are drought tolerant. There is disagreement, however, about the success of these new plants or the cost-benefit balance.
Other concerns center around companies such as Monsanto and their actions toward farmers. You can find news stories online that document Monsanto successfully suing farmers whose fields were “contaminated” by drifting GMO/patented seed, as well as farmers who (until now) were in the habit of saving seed from their crops in order to lower their costs.
Monsanto promo video
The photo posted with this story represents another side of the problem – misinformation – and the hazards of automatically “sharing” photos and posters and the like in social media without checking the facts.
In this case, the photo depicts a list of organic food companies that people have come to rely on for safe, wholesome foods and states that they are in fact opposed to labeling GMO-containing foods and are also “funneling” funds to stop labeling.
In the comments that accompany the photo, a reader shares that he wrote to these companies and two responses, to date, paint a very different picture.
As for other examples of information-sharing in social media, caution should also be exercised when passing along alerts about missing children, health scares, crime scares, computer virus scares, etc. One good source for verifying these announcements is Snopes.com and for computer-related issues, McAfee.com
One of the most powerful aspects of social media, such as Facebook, is that it can be used to educate others, and gather support for civic and social action… but it is also all too easy to pass along misinformation by hitting that “share” button.
Social media continues to evolve in many areas of our lives and like most “tools” can be used for benefit or to do harm – so it is up to us to exercise good judgment.
For the record, I support labeling foods containing genetically-modified ingredients.
And so, this is what Gordon Könyāhû Hayes wrote in Facebook about the GMO photo posted by NaturalNews:
I wrote to all of these companies the other day and have so far received 2 responses. This information is F A L S E! Neither Kashi or Silk have donated a red cent to defeat Prop 37. And Silk is supporting a NATIONAL effort to require labeling.
Gordon Könyāhû Hayes – I have written NaturalNews and complained about their lie tactic as well as reporting them to the companies they are falsely accusing.
SeedsNow.com @ Gordon – would you mind sharing their responses with us? It’s good to hear the other side of the story. Please share.
Gordon Könyāhû Hayes – Not a problem.
Gordon Könyāhû Hayes – I have also called for a boycott of NaturalNews until they can quit using deceptive practices.
Gordon Könyāhû Hayes – [from Silk® ]
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Silk®. We appreciate your interest in our products.
At WhiteWave, we believe consumers have the right to make informed choices about the foods they eat, and support labeling foods that are made with non-genetically modified ingredients.
• We support labeling foods that are made with non-genetically modified ingredients.
• While we support the underlying principles of Prop 37, we choose to support national initiatives, such as Just Label It and the Non-GMO Project that will not impede the availability of our products.
Just look at two of our national brands – Silk and Horizon Organic. They are both produced without the use of genetically modified ingredients and the package clearly indicates this.
Our entire Silk plant-based beverage portfolio is verified by the Non-GMO Project, and proudly carries the Non-GMO Verified logo.
All of our Horizon Organic products carry the USDA Organic Seal, and have since 2001. Consumers have come to know and trust that the certified organic label means their food is produced without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, added growth hormones, and GMOs.
Today at WhiteWave Foods, 85 percent of our products are non-GMO, and we are working to move additional ingredients in our portfolio to non-GMO.
We are proud of the national initiatives in which Silk and Horizon Organic engage.
The Just Label It! initiative is supported by a broad coalition of consumers and businesses interested in how their food is produced, including Silk and Horizon Organic. The campaign involves a petition with the FDA seeking mandatory labeling of GM foods.
Consumers can make a public comment in support of the petition on the campaign’s website at www.justlabelit.org
Thanks again for contacting the Consumer Affairs Department.
Consumer Response Representative
Gordon Könyāhû Hayes – [From Kashi]
Hello Gordon, Thanks for reaching out to us about the recent media coverage supporting proposition 37. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.
While Kellogg is our parent company, Kashi operates as an independent business in La Jolla, CA and has not made any contributions to oppose GMO labeling. We are committed to significantly increasing the number of USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified foods we offer over the next few years.
Today, we purchase over 35 million pounds of organic ingredients annually and are proud to have Non-GMO Project Verification of seven Kashi cereals, including Kashi® Autumn Wheat®, Cinnamon Harvest®, Island Vanilla®, Strawberry Fields®, 7 Whole Grain Flakes, and 7 Whole Grain Puffs cereals, and Kashi® 7 Whole Grain Pilaf.
In addition, two cereals, Kashi® Simply Maize and Kashi® Indigo Morning™ are currently in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified. To learn more, please visit http://www.kashi.com/ourcommitment. We understand your concern about GMO ingredients. This issue is larger than just Kashi and positive change requires time and collaboration across many partners within the food system.
We appreciate hearing your voice. Thanks again for contacting us.
Posted August 25, 2012
Bans and regulations on GMOs in other countries http://www.ehow.com/info_8527757_countries-banned-gmo-foods.html
Just Label It http://justlabelit.org
About who is making financial contributions to the No on Prop 37 side http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/22/business/la-fi-gmo-campaign-funds-20120822
Note: If you are interested in this issue, there is a GMO Free Farmers Market and Education Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bushnell Park in Hartford, CT on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. It is hosted by GMO Free Hartford.
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