Monday, November 18, 2013

GMO vote defeated

Washington State voters turned thumbs down on labeling genetically-modified foods in a plebscite in which votes are still being tallied.

They did the same in California, even though polls indicate more than 90 per cent of both Republicans and Democrats favour mandatory GMO labeling.

Columnist Richard Schiffman for The Tribune newspaper writes that the public should move on and focus on the real issues – the power of Monsanto and similar companies, the reduction in the rain forest and “factory farming” that involves the use of growth-promoting hormones, etc.

The tide is turning. When big-city newspaper columnists write that GMOs are fine, the tide is certainly turning. 

What I hope comes next is a realization that the big companies, such as Monsanto, dominate GMOs because the regulatory burden is as heavy as it is for pesticides. That's massive overkill. 

It also means that only products that are attractive to large corporations make it to market.

If GMO plant and animal breeding were as unlimited as conventional breeding, there would be thousands of new products coming to market that would be of tremendous benefit to consumers, farmers and the environment.

The Enviropig from the University of Guelph is a prime example of a GMO product that introduces environmental benefits while reducing farmers' production costs. I heard a radio broadast last week about the looming shortage of phosphates to make fertilizer, and that when that shortage hits, there will be tremendous negative consequences for crop yields all around the globe.

Schiffman cites a research review that found that GMO varieties on the market do no harm to people or the environment. That's quite a switch from the drumbeat of opinion about "frankenfoods".

And he writes that he would much prefer to serve his children Bt sweet corn than a crop that has been sprayed with organophosphates. Now isn't that some about-face?

The tide is turning.