Thursday, 20 February 2020

Baumann: Please sign the California GMO Labeling Petition

Here in Lake County and all over the state, volunteers are circulating petitions to put genetically modified food – or GMO – labeling on the California ballot.

If the considerable body of scientific evidence pointing to health risks associated with GMO consumption is not sufficient motivation for you to sign, then please, do it to restore free market capitalism.

Do it to end the Corporate Agriculture Welfare State.

Eighty percent of all our GMO crops go directly to animal feed, mostly factory-farmed livestock and poultry. An industry which, like GMO crops themselves, is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers.

GMO crops would not be able to compete economically in a real free market (i.e., without government welfare checks) because the cost of producing the GMO end-product exceeds the value of that product on the market.

Yes, it costs more to plant, grow and harvest a bushel of GMO soy or corn than that bushel is worth, per the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Taxpayers have been making up the difference.

Therefore, GMO crops are welfare crops.

Search the prices of GMO soy verses non-GMO soy and organic soy. You will find that, per CBOT, non-GMO soy sells for 10 to 30 percent more than what is paid for GMO soy per bushel and organic soy brings in at least twice the price of GMO soy.

American taxpayers have been carrying Big Ag on our backs for too long already. GMO labeling will correct many wrongs currently plaguing the Wall-Street-rigged US farming system.

And by the way, one fear-tactic you will hear from the Biotech lobbying industry is that GMO labeling would drive up the cost of food. Not true.

And here’s why:

While it may be true that a majority of processed foods on the average American supermarket shelf today contain GMO ingredients, the percentage of GMO is usually low, and usually from vegetable oil ingredients.

In every case where giant food manufacturers sell overseas, they are already making an equivalent product without GMOs, to avoid overseas GMO labeling laws.

Ergo, a vanilla wafer made for the US market contains GMO ingredients, while the same company’s vanilla wafer made for export is made without GMO veggie oil.

When GMO labeling passes here in the USA (and since no company wants to admit to GMO ingredients) it will be a relatively pain-free process for those food manufacturers to simply start using GMO-free vegetable oil in all their products, not just the ones they export to other countries.

Almost overnight (and well before any labeling deadline approaches) the 70 to 80 percent of processed foods currently using GMO veggie oil will no longer contain any GMO ingredients.

One industry that will be significantly impacted by GMO labeling is factory-farmed livestock and poultry, which is already the source of many health problems.

Even without E. coli and other outbreaks, standard operating procedures – such as daily hormone and antibiotic supplements – in these factory farms negatively impact our health. We are long overdue for a serious overhaul of that entire industry.

I am a meat and poultry eater myself, but I regard the health risks of eating factory-farmed food to be unacceptable. Also unacceptable: huge amounts of tax money needed to subsidize increased health costs resulting from chronic diseases associated with the factory-farmed meat that most Americans eat daily.

If GMO labeling can provide the impetus to clean up our factory farm situation, that will be an added benefit of passing this bill here in California.

Deb Baumann lives in Upper Lake, Calif.

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