MAKING DECEPTION THE LAW OF THE LAND
In a blatant act of corporate protectionism, the House of Represented voted in the middle of July to ban through pre-emption all state laws concerning genetically engineered products. Those laws had variously required GMOs to be identified on food labels so consumers would know when they were buying groceries containing a synthetically modified genome. One of the profoundly adverse consequences of the House bill (HR 1599) is its masking of GMO presence in foods, another of the consequences that has escaped public attention is its attendant obscuring of adverse events attributable to GMOs. HR 1599 is now before the United States Senate and we shall soon see if the Senate will sell out to corporate interests in the same way the House did.
Europe and most of the civilized world take a jaundiced view of genetically engineered fruits, vegetables, and meats. Indeed, in Europe they are outlawed by and large. Here, by contrast, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture have given GMOs a free pass in deference to the powerful corporate advocates of genetic manipulation of the food supply. By so doing, they are effectively taking food stuffs that are readily transferrable in a free market (seeds for crops, feed animals, and fruits that are natural) and enabling them to be transformed into patentable substances that may be subject to a monopoly regime via patent protection.
Objection to GMOs arises not only from those who do not want consumers in grocery markets to serve as test animals but also from those who oppose state sponsored monopolies and oligopolies. Although GMOs are touted as safe, there is virtually no limit on the kind of genetic manipulation that can be performed to alter the genome of plants and animals, and there are no human studies capable of proving GMOs safe beyond the near term. For all we know certain GMOs in the market today or in the future will end up being linked to mutagenicity (birth defects) or carcinogenicity (cancer). Although birth defects are visible in the short-term, cancer is ordinarily not. Cancer often has a very long etiology, often taking decades to go from initial occurrence to overt and diagnosable disease. That long etiology makes disclosure of ingredients a critical factor in assessing whether environmental inputs from the food supply contributed to or were the causative bases for cancers.
Because HR 1599 hides from consumers the foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients by pre-empting state disclosure laws, it masks from physicians, health authorities, and scientists the products containing specific GMOs. Under that law, if a product containing a GMO were responsible for an adverse health effect, public health authorities would be hard pressed to find it as the causative agent. The label would not reveal the ingredient and, so, those evaluating disease would have a hard time linking the disease to the GMO.
Monsanto and major agricultural concerns invest heavily in the creation of patentable GMOs because it is an effective way to remove food from highly competitive markets and place it in a monopoly market, their own. When farmers seek crops, many are led to believe that GMO-containing crops are superior. They sign contracts for those crops, often at initially attractive rates, only to be locked into a monopoly market where rates can be raised at the seller’s whim. Once a farmer plants GMO-containing seeds in his farmland, he is in effect locked into GMO crop production. GMO crops ordinarily do not yield seeds that can be replanted and any reliance on GMO containing seeds, even if by dint of the fact that GMO containing pollen pollinates a non-GMO plant (thus making it a GMO plant), is viewed as patent infringement by Monsanto and big agriculture. In this way, if a farmer decides not to renew his GMO seed contract, he becomes fair game for a patent infringement action, and he is locked out of the organic market because his fields are already polluted. Through this conundrum, Monsanto and big agriculture can gobble up the entire domestic agricultural market, but their sights are on an even bigger target: the world agriculture market.
The so-called DARK Act (Denying Americans their Right to Know) passed the House protects and advances this plan for GMO domination and, through that means, agriculture market dominance and control by GMO producers. Consequently, when the Senate takes up the DARK Act, there is much at stake. Its passage will ensure suppression of information indispensable to the exercise of informed choice at the point of sale (awareness of whether a food product contains genetically engineered ingredients) and also indispensable to ascertaining over time whether particular food stuffs containing GMOs are the causative factor for cancer and birth defects. Its passage will protect and advance the economic interests of Monsanto and big agriculture by engendering consumer confusion as to which products are free of GMOs because many containing GMOs will not reveal that fact on the label.
Some in support of GMOs claim that the law actually serves the interest of full disclosure because it creates a new “voluntary” federal bureaucracy for GMO free certification and for GMO labeling. There is an alternative to that highly paternalistic, federal pre-emptive, and regulatory expansive approach which is a far more direct, less politicized way of ensuring that the public is not mislead as to whether GMOs are in foods.
That is to mandate that GMOs be listed as ingredients on the label. That avoids consumer fraud and deception and leaves the decision of whether to buy a genetically engineered food with consumers. In that way Monsanto and big agriculture will be proceeding like every other company by having to prove to consumers the worth and superiority of their genetically engineered food products in a free and open market rather than depend upon government suppression and manipulation of information to cause consumers to unwittingly buy products they do not want (and that may prove deleterious to their health over time).
If you would prefer to know whether the food you eat contains GMOs, you will lose the right to know that information within the next few months unless you act to oppose Senate passage of the DARK Act. Consequently, even if you have never before called or written to your United States Senators to oppose a piece of legislation, now would be a good time to do so (before you and your children are made unwitting consumers of genetically engineered foods).
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© 2015 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, seven on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, Global Censorship of Health Information, and Restore the Republic. He is the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and joins Robert Scott Bell weekly for “Jonathan Emord’s Sacred Fire of Liberty,” an hour long radio program on government threats to individual liberty. For more info visit Emord.com, join the Emord FDA/FTC Law Group on Linkedin, and follow Jonathan on twitter (@jonathanwemord).
Europe and most of the civilized world take a jaundiced view of genetically engineered fruits, vegetables, and meats. Indeed, in Europe they are outlawed by and large. Here, by contrast, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture have given GMOs a free pass in deference to the powerful corporate advocates of genetic manipulation of the food supply.