“Nine ... Million ... Dollars ... In three months”
That's how much US lobbyists spent in the first quarter of 2014 to keep Americans in the dark about the GMOs in their food (Organic Consumers' Association).
A Congressional Panel on Biotechology has backed industry efforts to avoid GM labelling by explaining it would “frighten” and “confuse” consumers.
One panelist, a Professor in the Cornell Center for Behavioural Economics and Child Nutrition Programs, explained “It is ignorance of the product, and it's a general scepticism of anything they eat that is too processed or treated in some way that they don't quite understand. Even using long-scientific-sounding words make it sound like it's been grown in a test tube, and people get scared of it.”
It seems that, as in the EU where weak politicians, cowed by misinformed populaces, are afraid to lead and afraid to inform consumers, the labelling of GMOs would stoke fears promoted by “shameless”, “anti-science” fear-mongers,.
Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream empire, was incredulous. He pointed out that labelling is a simple, inexpensive matter of letting people know what's in their food, and letting them decide what they want to support and eat.
So, why is the biotech brigade in such a tizzy that it's forked out 9 million bucks?
A few words on a food label will cost very little, but the lost sales and lost profits when those poor lost, frightened and confused Americans stop buying the product will be crippling (obviously much more than $9 million).
The idea that Americans get scared of “long scientific words” on their food labels is ludicrous: just take a look at the list of ingredients on any junk food (and the US doesn't disguise them using 'E' numbers).
Who's scared here?
The biotech and agrichemical industries have a lot to be scared of: their most profitable products and planned future for our food all hinge on using GM.
The junk food industries have every reason to be scared: they're major users of GM ingredients.
The American people, whose 'leaders' have no hesitation in treating them as so ignorant and confused they need to be protected from the truth, have good reason to be scared, both of their politicians and of the secret GMOs in their food.
If you have friends, relatives or colleagues in the US assure them they are not confused, and tell them not to be scared. Suggest to them that they inform themselves about GM and then present any concerns they have to their supposedly 'democratic' leaders.
Also, the Organic Consumers' Association has a number of actions and campaigns on the go they might want to check out at www.organicconsumers.org.
- Spare Change, Organic Consumers' Association Organic Bytes, 1.08.14
- Michael McAuliff, Americans Are Too Stupid For GMO Labeling Congressional Panel Says, Huffington Post, 7.10.14