Genetically modified (GM) foods raise questions of safety, ethics and overall efficacy compared to conventional foods. These uncertainties have led to a push for transparency in the form of a label from manufacturers and retailers that sell GM foods. With 64 countries in the world already requiring labeling of GM foods, many wonder if Canada and the United States will be next.Read More
We’re all used to walking into a grocery store and finding easily accessible information about the food we want to purchase: information such as nutritional value, caloric content and possible allergens are all legally required to be printed on the label. While the rest of America waited in nail-biting nervousness for the results of the Presidential election, Californians were still voting, but on a bill, that if passed would require similar labelling for all genetically modified food.
Ever since humans first took tools to the land to grow crops and construct permanent settlements, we as a species have understood that our actions have a lasting impact on the natural world. Whether it was the deforestation of areas for the purposes of expanding arable land or the silting of river systems because of extensive irrigation, the progress and upword mobility of humanity has only been possible through the modification, for good or for ill, of our physical environment. Obviously it would be impossible to live without making some sort of impact on the land, but given the technology at our disposal and the size of the human population, the ways in which we are disrupting nature are both more subtle and more dangerous than at any other point in our history.
“The right to know what we eat is at the heart of food democracy” – Dr. Vandana Shiva
Dr. Shiva’s words encapsulate the core sentiment of the current American GMO labelling campaign. The last few weeks have seen a marked increase in the amount of public discourse and protest surrounding the politics of GMO labelling policy, manifesting most dramatically in the Right2Know March, which began in New York and ended in Washington at the gates of the White House on October 16th 2011. Right2Know organizers purported the slogan “Just Label It!” demanding that the United States government create mandatory GMO labelling laws, much like those seen throughout the European Union and numerous Asian countries. The group also asks for the US government to get biotechnology corporations, like industry leader, Monsanto, in check, by allowing pre-emptive legal action by organic farmers to protect themselves against seed patenting.
I’ve written several times on my beef with genetically modified foods, voicing my concern over the rampant and unchecked release and proliferation of the growth and consumption of GM soy, canola, wheat, potatoes, etc. Recent developments within the biotechnology industry have threatened to expand the prevalence of GM technologies into meat products, with the EnviroPig and GM Salmon. My next post will focus on the dangers and details of the Enviro Pig project, based out of the University of Guelph, but this post will reveal what’s so fishy about AquaBounty’s GM fast growth salmon.