As more and more Americans stand up and demand healthy, GMO-free organic food, the Big Food and Big Agriculture machines are kicking their lobbying and PR campaigns into high gear, starting with increased spending on lobbying efforts so far in 2014.
The Big Food industry spent as much as they did in all of 2013 in the first quarter of 2014 alone to prevent Americans’ right to know whether their food is genetically modified, for example.
Not only is the general public getting the full-fledged biotech spin treatment, Congress is as well.
A hearing was recently held (July 9) in Congress to “educate” members about the alleged “vital role of biotechnology in our society,” as the website of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association put it, while praising the hearing.
You may remember the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, of course, from this past November, when they lost a money-laundering court case after they were accused of concealing the most money in the history of any election by Washington state’s attorney general, and then forced to disclose donor names giving to their campaign against GMO labeling in that state.
Professors Lecture on “Benefits” of GMOs, Rehash Same Old Myth
While presenting information to the subcommittee, pro-GMO professors spoke about the alleged benefits of GMOs while deliberately misleading Congressional members by “conflating plant breeding with biotechnology,” as Elizabeth Kucinich, Director for the Center for Food Policy, notes in this article.
One pro-GMO presenter said at the hearing that “GMO is a misleading term,” stating that “humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia.”
But the long-running process of selecting, hybridizing and breeding crops for specific traits is completely and fundamentally different from the relatively new and dangerously untested process for creating genetically modified seeds in a laboratory, a fact that is still lost on most decision-makers regarding GMO crops.
This same industry talking point is repeated so often that it is becoming accepted despite the absurdity of it.
The fact that so many people still cannot grasp this simple concept is the perfect of example of how effective lobbying and PR campaigns by the GMO companies have been.
While such an act sounds like a wonderful idea on the surface considering how many Americans have been demanding more transparent labels (especially for GMO ingredients), the act’s name is considered to be quite misleading.
Kucinich lashed out against it in her article:
“To arrive at this bill the industry took the gene of a campaign donation and shot it into the DNA of horse manure and created a new product called, If Congress prohibits the FDA from mandating the labeling of GMOs and pre-empts or forbids the states from passing GMO labeling laws, then guess what? Congress’ GMO industry “labeling” bill results in – – no labeling!”
In response to the drafting of the bill, aka the DARK Act (an acronym for Deny Americans the Right to Know), petitions have begun circulating including this one, for concerned citizens to sign.
For more information on the hearing, you can view the House Committee on Agriculture’s (mostly pro-GMO) release here, and check out the response from the Center for Food Safety’s Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D by clicking here, which highlights the many concerns of GMO crops and growing systems.
“Similarly, inexpensive (non-GMO) ecologically-based farming methods can increase yields by 20 to 40 percent in many situations with minimal reliance on harmful pesticides,” the letter stated.
EWG Raises Concerns Following Congressional Hearing
The Environmental Working Group also released this article raising concern about what the overuse of dangerous farm chemicals could do to harm schoolchildren in attending reps’ districts:
“Its members should also consider the health risks of blanketing fields with toxic defoliants used on genetically engineered crops – especially when those fields are right next to elementary schools – as they are in the congressional districts of subcommittee members Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.),” the EWG said.