GM Salmon to be Labeled

 

salmon

In the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 20th, an agricultural spending bill for the fiscal year 2014 was approved. Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski sponsored an amendment that would require at least $150,000 in the budget to allow for genetically engineered salmon to be labeled. It passed with a 15-14 vote. The FDA is not concerned about the safety of the salmon, which grow twice as fast as regular salmon, but they are more concerned with the introduction to the market causing contamination of the regular stocks of salmon.

 

Read more here.

 

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USDA Approves Non-GMO Label For Meat

Earlier in June, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service approved the use of the Non-GMO Project label on certified meat. Since meat and eggs can’t be directly tested for GMOs, their feed is tested instead. This new label will clarify that the feed fed to the animals is non-GMO.

So far only three meat companies have been approved – Mindful Meats, Pitman Farms, and Hidden Villa Ranch.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune.

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Farmer Assurance Provision or Monsanto Protection Act?

crops

The Farmer Assurance Provision is in a section of a bill (in Section 735 of US H.R. 933) that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 26th, 2013. This bill allows farmers to continue to grow crops while legal challenges regarding the safety of the crops are going on.

Upsets have arisen from the fact that this was slipped into a spending package that averted a government shutdown. Critics call this the Monsanto Protection Act because it doesn’t allow courts to halt the sale or planting of controversial GM seeds if health issues arise. Those against the bill believe it is harmful to allow the planting of new GM crops “while the agency conducts further review, after which time it’s likely too late to undo any harm”[3].

But supporters point out that “the legislation does not…allow farmers or seed companies to sell seeds proven to be harmful. Rather, it provides legal consistency so farmers and businesses do not get yanked one way or the other based on the temporary findings of competing court systems…” [1].

In 2010, the Center for Food Safety and some organic farmers convinced a court that GE sugar beets had environmental and health dangers (with no evidence), and a federal judge ordered all the seedlings to be pulled from the ground. GE sugar beets made up 95% of the nation’s crop and this technicality would have destroyed as much as half of America’s sugar production. The USDA ruled to allow planting of GMO sugar beets in July 2011[1].

Those in support believe that this protects farmers from such court technicalities.

Those against believe this just provides protection for Monsanto and other GM seed producers and is “a special interest loophole” [2].

What do you think? Say a new GM crop is approved and is released onto the market, but then studies find potential health risks upon consumption. What should happen during the time that GM crops are being re-evaluated? Should farmers be allowed to continue to plant and grow the GM crop if there are potential health risks? Or should they be forced to destroy their crops causing them financial harm, even if there is no actual health risk found?

Please comment with your thoughts!

References
1. Anon. Don’t Misrepresent the Farmer Assurance Provision. BIOtechNow [Internet]. [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from: http://www.biotech-now.org/food-and-agriculture/2013/04/dont-misrepresent-the-farmer-assurance-provision

2. Simon M. Is Outrage Over the Monsanto Protection Act a Turning Point for the Food Movement? Huffington Post [Internet]. 2013 May 23 [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/monsanto-protection-act_b_3327270.html

3. Anon. Senator seeks to overturn so-called Monsanto Protection Act. NY Daily News [Internet]. [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/push-overturn-monsanto-protection-act-article-1.1352178

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Connecticut Passes GMO Labeling Law!

connecticut

Connecticut is the first state in the United States to pass a law that requires genetically-engineered food to be labeled. Although, compromises had to made with legislators to get it passed; four other states in the northeast region of the US must also enact similar bills before this bill in Connecticut will take effect. Read the full story on how they accomplished this here.

GMO Awareness Survey

We created a short survey on basic information about GMOs just to see how much the Boulder community knows about them. We surveyed over 100 people on Pearl Street Mall, on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, and on all of our Facebook pages. Here are the results!

Do you know what a GMO (genetically modified organism) is?

Yes 83%
No 17%

Are you for or against having GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in food products?

I am for GMO’s 25%
I am against GMO’s 29%
I am undecided 46%

Who is Monsanto?

…label food products containing GMO’s 6%
…produce non-GMO food 3%
…produce GMO food 53%
I don’t know 38%

GMO’s have been proven to cause harm if consumed.

True 47 44%
False 61 56%

Where are GMO’s highly regulated?

United States 15%
Europe 41%
Africa 4%
Asia 7%
The Middle East 4%
I don’t know 30%

GMO’s can NOT be organic

True 54%
False 46%