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the Organic Review: Both Romney and Obama say YES to GMOs
by Ali Papademetriou
Millions of Americans, as well as citizens across the globe, are waking up to the realization that genetically modified organisms are indeed very much a part of their lives, particularly in their food. In addition, they are becoming educated on how dangerous such organisms are to their health. Studies have proven that diets containing GMOs can result in cancer, liver and kidney malfunction, infertility, immune deficiency, and much more.
Fifty countries including Australia, France, Italy, Mexico, and Poland have already enforced specific restrictions or outright bans on GMOs. On the contrary, Canada and the United States currently do not require labeling. Ironically, about 92 percent of Americans believe that genetically modified foods should be labeled.
In just two weeks citizens across the United States, as well as in countries around the world will be protesting GMOs. The protests are being led by the ‘Occupy Monsanto’ organization. Additionally, concerned citizens in California have joined forces and have been able to create a piece of legislation called Proposition 37 and in November, many will be voting for food ingredient transparency that would require mandated GMO labeling. Advocates of Prop 37 have been putting up a hard fight considering biotech company, Monsanto, has already forked up 4.2 million dollars against the ‘California’s Right to Know’ law.
Beyond having a shady history, Monsanto has acted as a culprit in the GMO world and their corporation continues to flourish financially. They are the largest seed producer in the world and because they are able to produce large amounts of their products for such a small amount of money, they are adamant about not revealing the truth behind their product ingredients and the health dangers deriving from their genetically altered crops.
The election season is coming in just a couple of months, and besides Californians voting on Proposition 37, Americans across the entire United States will be voting in the general presidential election. Interestingly, neither the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, nor the Democratic candidate, President Barack Obama are in agreement with the majority of Americans that are in disagreement with GMOs and are in favor of labeling them.
Romney has recently picked his players for his Agricultural Committee team; some of which are heavily involved in the biotechnology industry and big-name food corporations. Randy Russell, who has been tightly intertwined with the agricultural department for over twenty years served as a lobbyist for the National Pork Producers Council.
One of Mitt’s advisory co-chairs was a key speaker at the ‘Biotechnology Industry Organization’ and displayed his biotech support by stating; “It is vital for the United States and other countries to support science-based standards and systems that will bring agricultural biotechnology products to the market to meet this demand.”
On the left side of the political spectrum, President Obama promised his supporters in 2008 that he would be on their side when it comes to knowing what they’re eating. In a campaign speech, Mr. Obama stated, “Here’s what I’ll do as president. I’ll immediately implement country of origin labeling. We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”
President Obama proved his supporters wrong when he was elected into office and went against his word by appointing the FDA’s Michael Taylor and the USDA’s Tom Vilsack to his agricultural committee. Both men have ties to Monsanto.
When it comes to labeling genetically modified organisms in food as well as supporting biotechnology, both Mitt Romney and President Obama are against the wishes of the majority of the American people. Regardless of what either of the candidates rhetorically says, when one of them is inaugurated in the fall, both of their agricultural committees will prove that they are in favor of advancing biotechnology.