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
Money_generic
Farm Management
February 1, 2016
Economics 101: Focus On Being Efficient To Ensure Profitability
An expert from Purdue University says use the latest technology to improve data collection and make investments to increase productivity while paying attention to costs. Read More
David Coveyou of Coveyou Farms in Petoskey, 
MI, produces certified organic vegetables 
including lettuce and other leafy greens, 
tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and sweet corn. Photo credit: Coveyou Farms
Farm Management
January 31, 2016
Organic Vegetable Farm Combines The Right Ingredients To Create A Thriving Business
The business model of Coveyou Farms in Michigan has allowed the operation to be sustainable and profitable in a challenging market. Read More
Packing carton of "Limited Edition" pole grown cucumbers recalled by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. (Photo credit: CDC)
Cucurbits
January 27, 2016
Imported Cucumbers Connected With Multistate Outbreak Of Salmonella
Since the Salmonella outbreak occurred in September, nearly 900 people in 39 states have fallen ill. Read More
(Photo credit: GotCredit)
Fruits
January 26, 2016
Student Loan Debt Impacts Us All
Whether you’re at the dusk or dawn of your career in agriculture, it’s important to pay attention to the Young Growers Success Act. Read More
Black Gold horizontal heart healthy spubs
Farm Management
January 26, 2016
Black Gold Farms Launches Red Potato Promotion
Red potato supplier unveils “Spice Up Your Spud Life” promotion to capitalize on American Heart Month. Read More
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and a commercial partner developed a new organic antimicrobial wash for fresh produce.
Photo by Peggy Greb
Food Safety
January 25, 2016
Antimicrobial Wash Reduces Risk Of Pathogens Fresh Produce
The product is USDA certified organic and is expected to be used in commercial flumes and rinse tanks that wash fresh produce. Read More
Guy in suit under the water
Citrus
January 23, 2016
Too Much Cheerleading Has EPA In Deep Water [Opinion]
These days, far too often, elected representatives of the people are abdicating their responsibilities to federal agencies. The result is rules like WOTUS. Read More
The Latest
Farm Management
February 3, 2016
Western Growers Launches Tech Talk Serie…
Speakers from a variety of agricultural technology areas will make presentations on a variety of topics including drone/satellite imagery and food safety software. Read More
Farm Management
February 3, 2016
Hot Topics Tackled At Mid-Atlantic Fruit…
Food safety and GMOs were two of the topics discussed on the first day of the trade show and conference. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Historic Rainfall Hampering South Florid…
El Niño express delivering floods, uncertainty for crops. Read More
Farm Management
February 1, 2016
Economics 101: Focus On Being Efficient …
An expert from Purdue University says use the latest technology to improve data collection and make investments to increase productivity while paying attention to costs. Read More
Farm Management
January 31, 2016
Organic Vegetable Farm Combines The Righ…
The business model of Coveyou Farms in Michigan has allowed the operation to be sustainable and profitable in a challenging market. Read More
Farm Management
January 26, 2016
Black Gold Farms Launches Red Potato Pro…
Red potato supplier unveils “Spice Up Your Spud Life” promotion to capitalize on American Heart Month. Read More
Citrus
January 23, 2016
Too Much Cheerleading Has EPA In Deep Wa…
These days, far too often, elected representatives of the people are abdicating their responsibilities to federal agencies. The result is rules like WOTUS. Read More
Citrus
January 22, 2016
It’s Official: 2015 Was Earth’s Wa…
NASA, NOAA analyses reveal record-shattering statistics regarding global temperatures this past year. Read More
Citrus
January 21, 2016
Chance Of Profits Up For Growers Tuned I…
UF/IFAS study confirms how paying attention to the 10-day forecast can affect a farmer’s bottom line. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2016
Port Tampa Bay Embarks On Big Plans To M…
Opportunities for growers abound as the Panama Canal doubles its capacity. Read More
Citrus
January 13, 2016
Florida Legislature Passes Key Water Pol…
Legislation set up to preserve and restore the state’s water and natural resources for future generations. Read More
Citrus
January 13, 2016
American Farm Bureau Elects New Presiden…
Georgia farmer Zippy Duvall to take leadership reins from retiring Bob Stallman. Read More
Citrus
January 12, 2016
El Niño Soaking South Florida’s Dry Seas…
Well-above average rainfall drenched the region last month, which followed the wettest November since 1998. Read More
Farm Management
January 11, 2016
American Vegetable Grower’s Adviso…
The advisory board discusses where the biggest opportunities lie in the coming year. Read More
Farm Management
January 11, 2016
VegetableGrowerConnect Highlights The V…
One-on-one private meetings with suppliers, coupled with building relationships with other growers, were focal points of the second annual Connect. Read More
Farm Management
January 8, 2016
USDA Says China Slowing U.S. Agriculture…
International trade is a major factor in the American agricultural economy. A key player is China. In fact China’s impact Read More
Farm Management
January 8, 2016
Abbott & Cobb Seed Company Launches …
The redesigned portal offers easy access to product information and is compatible with mobile devices. Read More
Farm Management
January 5, 2016
Strive To Find Solutions For Vegetable P…
The specialty crop industry strives to find answers for problems. Let's hope 2016 is filled with more solutions than problems. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]