GMO Debate Worth The Fight [Opinion]

Mary Hartney, FFAA 2013Absent a federal solution, Florida will be the next major battleground in the war against modern agriculture. We are battling fears, misinformation, and activists with an anti-GMO agenda — but there is hope. A recent survey conducted for the International Food Information Council (IFIC), showed there’s support for the current FDA policy for labeling foods produced using biotechnology.

Additionally, when provided information about the benefits of biotechnology, of those surveyed: “The majority say they would be likely to purchase foods modified by biotechnology for various nutrition and health-related benefits. Seventy-two percent would be likely to purchase food products made with oils that were modified by biotechnology to provide more healthful fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids. More than two-thirds of Americans say they would be likely to purchase foods improved with biotechnology to reduce the potential for carcinogens (69%), be protected from insect damage and require fewer pesticide applications (69%), enhance nutritional benefits (67%), and eliminate the trans fat content in foods (67%),” (IFIC survey news release, May 28, 2014).

But we have our work cut out for us in sharing information about biotechnology and its safety record with the general public. Thus far in 2014, 30 states saw more than 100 proposed bills introduced regarding GMO labeling. Florida had two of those bills, HB 1 and SB 558.
In May, Vermont became the first state to enact standalone mandatory labeling (bills passed in other states have triggers to be met before taking effect). Vermont’s law will likely be challenged in the courts. Ballot initiatives are looming threats in Colorado and Oregon (two Oregon counties already have voted to ban GMO cultivation and sales). Hawaii, home to world-leading research, development and production of GMO crops, is under siege from well-orchestrated anti-GMO campaigns. Voters in counties there may be taking up bans of GMO crops this fall.

Sticking To it

Whether it’s in Florida or Hawaii, Oregon, or Vermont, these attacks on modern agriculture and piecemeal labeling approaches are problems. It is time to find a comprehensive solution. The recently introduced Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 (HR 4432) does just that. HR 4432, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), establishes the FDA as the authority on GMO food use and labeling issues.
The bill does more to address consumer interests. According to the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, HR 4432 will:

  • Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a state-by-state hodgepodge of GMO safety and labeling laws.
  • Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.
  • Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices.
  • Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

Differences Of Opinion

Much of agriculture — the typical exceptions being organic associations and outliers — opposes mandatory labeling as it is being proposed because it is arbitrary, capricious, unnecessary, and expensive, adding between $400 to $800 a year to a family’s annual food costs according to various economic studies.
Activists and others who don’t want GMOs already have options and choices. They can buy certified organic products or those labeled GMO-free. Those choices exist today, driven by the free market.
Your support is needed for science-based food labels for human health. Join the Safe and Affordable Food Coalition’s grassroots campaign for HR 4432. Share the GMOAnswers.com site and defend modern agriculture.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Farm Management Stories

FruitsFixing Farm Labor Woes Worth The Extra Effort [Opinion]
November 19, 2014
40th annual Ag Labor Relations Forum encourages outreach and action. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion]
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
Business PlanningFarm Executive Workshop To Build Management, Leadership Skills
November 17, 2014
Penn State Extension offering unique learning event for those looking to bolster business. Read More
Farm ManagementGrowing Produce Without Risk Management Program Is A Bad Bet
November 14, 2014
Utilize available insurance tools to ensure opportunities for long-term survival and success. Read More
FruitsWestern Growers Frustrated By Shutdown Of Ports
November 14, 2014
Pacific Maritime Association is accusing union of intentional work slowdown. Read More
Farm ManagementSouth Florida Farmers Going Extra Mile For Everglades Conservation
November 12, 2014
Growers in one of the most unique and regulated areas in the world have exceeded benchmarks in the quest to restore the ‘River of Grass.’ Read More
Apples & PearsIs Your Orchard Fit For A 5K?
November 5, 2014
Hosting a race can be a great way to tie your farm market to the running and fitness craze. Read More

The Latest

Farm ManagementIndustry Organizations Sound Off On President’s Immig…
November 21, 2014
Agriculture is not given the attention it so sorely deserves when it comes to the immigration debate. Read More
Farm ManagementVegetableGrowerConnect Delivers Results For Growers And…
November 19, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Browse this slideshow for VegetableGrowerConnect highlights. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion…
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
Farm ManagementGrowing Produce Without Risk Management Program Is A Ba…
November 14, 2014
Utilize available insurance tools to ensure opportunities for long-term survival and success. Read More
Farm ManagementSouth Florida Farmers Going Extra Mile For Everglades C…
November 12, 2014
Growers in one of the most unique and regulated areas in the world have exceeded benchmarks in the quest to restore the ‘River of Grass.’ Read More
Farm ManagementMake Your Voice Heard On The Issues Important To Your B…
November 4, 2014
Ag's voice is distressingly underrepresented on important issues for all of our businesses. Our GenNext Growers webcase series offers solutions to help you change that. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
CitrusNOAA’s Winter Weather Outlook Runs Hot And Cold
October 27, 2014
Repeat of last year’s extreme cold and snow events east of the Rockies unlikely. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
Farm ManagementResearchers Finding Biofuel Fits For Florida
October 21, 2014
Alternative crops identified that are suited for the state's climate and can easily be processed for power. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches New Award To Recognize Produ…
October 21, 2014
Award recognizes innovation that enhances the role of produce in creating better lives. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More
Farm ManagementVidalia Onion Committee Reaches Younger Audience with D…
October 15, 2014
“V is for Vidalia” campaign focused on social and digital media outreach. Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Joins In On Specialty Crop Block Grant Bonanza
October 15, 2014
Researchers partnering with FDACS and USDA on 24 separate projects to strengthen the produce market sector. Read More
Citrus2015 Florida Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inductees Announ…
October 14, 2014
Six more to be honored for helping shape and influence the state’s farming industry. Read More