More on GMO Labeling


By Catherine Haug, December 7, 2012

On this Pearl Harbor day, I write about something far more deadly than bombs. Let us pause to remember those who have died in defense of our country, then vow to work to save ourselves from this insidious danger to our food supply.

GMO or GE foods are created by manipulating the DNA material of different species that would never breed naturally – like the banana-fish Frankenfood logo shown right (used by permission from the OCA). These foods are NOT normal, natural, organic, or safe. They pose a signifiant harm to you and your family’s health, not to mention that of our planet. For more on this, see my earlier posts:

The winter 2012 issue of Organic View, a publication of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), includes an informative article about the battle for labeling GMO foods. Here are some highlights:

  • While California’s Prop 37 to label GMO foods was defeated 53% to 47%, nearly 6 million Californians voted in favor of Prop 37.
  • The campaign for Prop 37 brought together a “great state and national coalition of more than 3,000 organic food retailers and public health, faith and labor, consumer and agriculture, and environmental and political groups, with combined email lists of over 10 million people.” Many of these groups and consumers were from across the country, not just California.
  • “It is no exaggeration to say that this hard-fought battle has permanently altered the national debate surrounding food safety, chemical-intensive agriculture, and sustainability.”
  • Prop 37 “may indeed symbolize the beginning of the end for agricultural biotechnology and industrial food and farming, a profoundly unhealthy, unsustainable, climate-disrupting system that has dominated American agriculture for the last 60 years.”
  • While a similar labeling law was defeated in Oregon 10 years ago (when there was not much known by the general public about FMOs), activists in Oregon are working on a similar initiative in 2014.
  • Advocates in Washington State are collecting signatures for their Initiative 522 to be on the 2013 ballot.
  • In Vermont and Connecticut, activists are working on legislative mandate of GMO labeling (citizens initiatives are not an option in these states).

I think it’s time that concerned citizens in Montana work to get a GMO-labeling initiative on our ballot. But that won’t be enough; we have to educate the people about GMOs and the risks they pose to our health and our planet. Please help spread the word; forward this post to friends and family!

4 Responses to “More on GMO Labeling”

  1. Steve Eisenberg says:

    I’ve discussed GMO foods in Rosauers organic section and learned that many organic labeled foods contain GMO ingredients. The only way to know they don’t is if the packaging explicitly says non GMO, pretty sad

  2. Catherine says:

    Yes indeed, very sad- mainly because it is more complex than that, and most people don’t understand the rules. There are three levels of Organic labeling, as I explain in my post: Natural vs Organic:
    1. ‘100% Organic‘ which means all ingredients must be certified Organic, and cannot contain GMO ingredients. It bears the ‘Organic’ seal’.
    2.’Organic’ means 95% of its ingredients (by weight) must be organic. The other 5% can be non-Organic, including toxic preservatives, flavor enhancers, food colorings, and yes, those that are GMO. This also bears the ‘Organic’ seal.
    3. ‘Made with Organic’ requires between 70% and 94% of the total ingredients to be certified Organic. This allows up to 30% of the ingredients to be non-Organic, including GMO. This cannot bear the Organic seal.

    I hope this helps to clarify the problem.

  3. Greetings,
    I recently moved back to Kalispell from California where I helped work on the GMO labeling initative, prop 37 in the Antelope Valley. I am interested in gathering with like minded folks here in the Flathead to work on starting our own Label GMO initiative in Montana. While I am not knowledgeable enough to lead, I am willing to help do my part. Please let me know if you know of anyone starting this in Montana.

  4. Catherine says:

    Hi Sheree, I sent you an email with some suggested contacts. Best wishes!