Oregon prepares to count votes this Tuesday on what I hope will make it the first State to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As I write on October 30, the GMO behemoths — Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, et al. — have spent about $17 million to save Oregonians from making this terrible mistake, which will raise unwarranted questions in the minds of consumers about the safety of these pristine, better-than-God-made foods.
They are, of course, better than God (or Nature) made because they can absorb substantial amounts of synthetic poisons and not only live but keep on growing, while all around them, everything else dies.
Apparently activists here, and elsewhere, have made the tactical decision not to raise questions about the safety of foods containing GMOs, because there is no definitive scientific proof that consuming them hurts humans, and the behemoths have a field day criticizing those misguided humans who have performed experiments suggesting that they might do so. So Oregonrighttoknow.com, for example, argues only that we don’t know the long-term health effects of genetically engineered food and we can’t trust chemical corporations to tell us whether the food we’re eating is safe.
True enough, of course, but with respect — as a newcomer to this debate — I think that’s a mistake, partly because the behemoths in their massive advertising campaign claim labeling will cost average consumers hundreds of dollars (although Consumers Union estimated the typical cost at $2.30, per year). This leaves disinformed voters to weigh their right to know what’s in their food — which may or may not be harmful — against their ability to afford to eat.
Meanwhile, although there may not at the moment be definitive proof that GMOs harm humans, there is a truckload of evidence that people might want to be aware of before deciding whether to eat, or feed their families, GM foods.