By Anonymous (not verified) on December 07, 2012

The battle for safe food is not over, despite the defeat in California.

California’s Proposition 37, which would have made it mandatory to label foods containing ingredients from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), was narrowly defeated on Nov. 6 as a result of a $46 million fear-mongering propaganda campaign funded mainly by the biotechnology and food-processing industries.

These engineered foods have never been demonstrated to be necessary or safe, and scientific studies not funded by industry consistently find in them safety problems with serious implications for human health. That’s why they are essentially banned in the European Union.

Some argued that the California measure was unnecessary because organic GMO-free foods are labeled as such, and therefore consumers can simply choose to buy those. But such a libertarian argument falls from its own weight, given that polls show that the great majority of U.S. consumers are unaware that there are vast amounts of GMO foods out there.

Surveys show that Americans would avoid GMO foods if these were labeled. An ABC News poll showed that 93 percent of Americans want GMO foods labeled.

But Monsanto, DuPont, Pepsi and Kellogg scared a small majority of voters into falsely believing that labeling genetically modified products would raise food prices.

Big Food and Big Biotech are celebrating their California victory, but the fight is not over — not by a long shot.

Even as Proposition 37 was being defeated on Nov. 6, the voters of Washington state’s San Juan County voted to prohibit the planting of GMO crops. And unfazed by the defeat in California, Washington residents are now busy gathering the 320,000 required signatures for a statewide referendum on GMO labeling.

Additionally, consumer rights groups are working for labeling in 30 states and have united as the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling.

At the national level, a petition to Congress demanding the countrywide labeling of GMOs has received more than 52,000 signatures. A similar petition by JustLabelit.org addressed to the Food and Drug Administration has more than 1.2 million signatories.

As more and more Americans become concerned about what’s in their food, the popular demand for labeling genetically modified organisms will only grow louder.

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is a Puerto Rican author, journalist and environmental educator. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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