Time for GMO labeling
Consumers want information about the food they buy

Consumers have become increasingly sophisticated about the foods they consume, and with good reason. The link between the foods we eat and our health and well-being has become increasingly clear in recent years.

That’s one reason proper labeling of food is so necessary, and so popular with the public. Consumers expect to know if foods contain trans-fats, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, or aspartame. They expect to know calorie counts, sugar and fiber content, and other dietary information.

They also want to know if the foods they are consuming are natural, or a creation of artificial genetic engineering. In Europe, foods are routinely labeled if they are produced with genetically modified organisms, be it corn, soybeans, and even meat from animals. In the U.S., public support for labeling such foods is high— many surveys have found as much as 90 percent support.

Consumers want to know what’s in their food, and that’s why the Minnesota Legislature should approve a new GMO labeling law that’s currently making its way through the committee process. Unfortunately, industrial food manufacturers don’t want you to know how prevalent genetically-engineered foods have become in the marketplace. Companies like General Mills, Land-O-Lakes, and Monsanto have spent millions to keep such laws off the books for years, and they’re gearing up to fight the latest proposal here in Minnesota.

There’s a strong case to be made for federal labeling requirements, but until federal legislation can be approved, states need to act to protect their consumers. There’s no consensus that genetically-modified foods are safe. In fact, according to documents uncovered during litigation by the Center for Food Safety, federal Food and Drug Administration scientists have indicated that such foods could pose serious risks.

But as we know, science and consumer safety often take a back seat in Washington to powerful corporate interests. We’re hoping that a now DFL-dominated Minnesota Legislature will opt to side with consumers, by putting their interests first.

The good news is that legislators have introduced bills in both the House (HF 850) and Senate (SF 821), and the measures are advancing. A key test for the House version, which now has 13 authors, will come at the Agriculture Policy Committee. Northeastern Minnesota Rep. David Dill sits on that committee, so he will play a role in determining whether this bill is ultimately signed into law. If you’d like to know if the food you buy is genetically-engineered, give Rep. Dill a call at 651-296-2190, or email him at rep.david.dill@house.mn.

At a time when the downsides of industrial food production are becoming ever-clearer, Minnesotans should have the ability to vote for change, through the exercise of their buying power. But consumers can’t push for changes, when they are kept in the dark by an industry that profits from their ignorance. Legislators should stand with consumers in this battle, and oppose the industrial food giants.

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39 comments on this item

I heartily agree.

Just for the sake of argument, I'll disagree. I'm bored and need something to do.

I enjoy what appears to be a sense of humor ... but must still ask "why". (Not why bored, but why not agree with the editorial)

I don't want to tell you how I really feel about the editorial, I just want to argue with you and bonfire. Oh hum, boredom.

How sweet, oc has missed us.

Given the weather I read about and see via webcams up there, it seems more than understandable.

I pass the time listening to CD's of Frankie Yankovic, just to pass the time until you give me something to chew on (especially if it is labeled). In Heaven there is no beer, labeled or not.

Why GMO Labels Won’t Cost Consumers a Dime

One of the biotech industry’s favorite arguments against GMO labeling is that it will be costly for small retailers and consumers. As if Monsanto actually cares about your economic well-being?

Playing to consumers’ fears of higher food costs makes good strategic sense, especially in tough economic times. But the argument doesn’t hold water. Trader Joe’s, a multi-billion dollar retailer of organic and natural foods, second in size only to Whole Foods Market, verifies that its private-label products are GMO-free. How? By using a system that involves chain-of-custody, legally binding affidavits. It’s the same system other manufacturers and retailers use for rBGH-free, trans fat-free, fair trade and country-of-origin. It works. And it doesn’t cost consumers a dime.

Read the Essay

OC,

The issue MH is talking about is that consumers should be able to choose to buy and eat food that is labeled GMO the same as other labeled information about our food currently available. People can then have the freedom to decide for themselves whether GMO food is or isn't an issue for them. Heck, I thought freedom was a basic American value.

You're talking about an entirely different issue.

What issue am I talking about?

As MH suggests, we should be calling Dill and other legislators in favoring of GMO labeling.

The history of GMO, etc is another topic. I wonder how many people have even heard about genetically modified food. That's another good reason to pass a labeling bill. People would start to learn more about the issue if they saw their food identified as GMO.

But here is what I find interesting. A few months ago, we had the famous Dr. Zattola advising us that "organic" style whole milk off the farm was no good for us. Now, I grew up on milk direct from the cow, separated the cream in the old style cream separator (no electricity back then), we put the milk and cream in pails and lowered them in the well to keep them cool. In high school, I went to Clarence Olson's farm and bought raw milk right out of the large cooler. .50$ per gallon and then later, bought milk from a fellow employee who had a lunchpail farm and he sold milk and eggs at the plant. Zattola thought that was a risk.

My father was in the grocery business for 42 years, he bought carcass beef from local farmers until the federal government intervened and said all meat had to have a USDA stamp or it couldn't be sold. Nobody died before, nobody died later, but the quality of beef suffered by buying packing plant beef that was shipped up here by rail and later truck.

He sold Jim Gordon's corn, locally produced, and couldn't keep it on the shelf. There was no labeling there. Nobody died. He bought produce from Jewish Sam Schwartz of Virginia, beef from Alex Berman, who had a farm in Linden Grove, and from George Salo near Chisholm. Potatoes came from local farmers, as did carrots, rutabagas, and chickens. Nobody died.

Canned goods came from Central Cooperative Wholesale in Superior, all quality checked by the kitchen labs at the canning plant of National Cooperatives in Albert Lea. Coffee came from the Co-Op roasting plant in Superior, the beans bought by Co-Op buyers. Nobody died.

What's your point?

Oh, for crying out loud.

If people saw a GMO label on food that they have never seen before and may have no idea what it stands for, they will start asking questions and learning about genetically modified food. They could make a more informed decision if they want to buy and eat it or not, just as people can now make choices to avoid or not worry about food with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc. It's a simple point. I wasn't aiming for anything more complicated than that.

I'm old enough to remember all the local foods too, skimming the cream off the top of the milk can and so on. People usually knew and trusted the local food producers to do it properly and cleanly. I know my parents wouldn't have bought meat/poultry or milk from a stranger or anyone that didn't come from a good recommendation from other people they trusted. The 50's/60's food era wasn't free from buyer beware incidents. Let's not totally romanticize those days.

Farmers markets are growing in number and popularity today because people want food that tastes as good like it did when we were kids and grown/raised without chemicals, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, factory farm conditions that they can find. People are really getting into heirloom seeds, non-GMO seeds for vegetable gardening.

So, yes, I heartily agree with MH. Call your legislators.

Here's how we got in this dilemma: At a time when we had corner grocery stores and nearly every township had 3 or 4, and we had no government grade stamping requirements, merchants were able to use locally raised beef, pork and poultry, plus produce. The USDA came in, the FDA came in, (in our best interests of course), and rose the shelf price of products or even prevented the sale of local products. Local merchants tried their best to watch their price points and had weekly specials. In came the big chains, the public (always looking to save a penny by driving long distances) switched their allegiance to the chains and the local merchants went away.

Now I am a Co-Op man, I was raised a Co-Op man and will die a Co-Op man. I saw Co-Ops die due to the pure democracy they operate under. eg. people getting elected to the board based on popularity, not because they held Co-Op values. Good employees were getting hard to come by, the better ones went to the chains because they could pay more. The Co-Op had a large wholesale and was vertically integrated, so they were able to meet price points established by the chains, but the smaller stores didn't have the volume to continue on.

Now when I talk about Co-Ops, I am not talking about that Wellstone Wacko Natural Harvest Foods in Virginia or the one in Duluth. Those are environmental nut case outfits, not the type of hard working, honest Co-Op people of the past. I pick up some yogurt and other stuff my wife orders, but love to go in there with my "Wellstone's Dead, Get Over It" button. Gives me a few good yucks each time I see the staff react.

People have brought about this labeling issue themselves. If they would have remained loyal to their local businesses, local farmers would be producing the food we eat today. Instead, we have corporate farms, cattle fattened up too soon before ready for slaughter, foods poisoned to retain shelf life, produced sprayed with herbicides and insecticides. All to provide lower costs to larger corporations. I understand why there is a call for labeling, but it will never stop people from being their own worst enemies.

I am just so glad that finally I have read the truth. Thank you mr. oc.

But you forgot to point out in your conspiracy theory the true heart of it ... "That it is all Obama's fault".

Shame.

(You did find a way to sneak a poke at Wellstone in though)

Earth to orrcountry??? Earth to orrcountry??? Do you read? Are you there? Ah, well ...

OC,

So the previous Coops that once sold local meat/poultry & produce had nothing in common with any food coops today? And the people who work at the Natural Harvest are not honest or hardworking? Wow, just wow.That's illogical and knee jerk judgmental.

I have relatives that worked in the old Coops up here and I think they were great and an asset to their communities. I also love the Natural Food Coop. They do sell local products, the garlic from someone in Gilbert available at the end of the summer is fantastic) but you probably didn't notice while you were walking around with your button prominently displayed just dying for the socialists to notice how clever and amusing you are.

btw, if you don't have a local supplier of good squeaky cheese and run out, Natural Harvest sells squeaky cheese decent enough that my Finnish 90 year old relatives will buy it.

br: You are are a worthy poster. But let me advise you, #1 they are not coops. Those are chicken coops, which goes to show how much you know about the Co-Op movement.. They are Co-Ops, just in case you aren't as informed as I am.

The nut cases that work at Natural Harvest Foods in Virginia and Whole Foods in Duluth go ballistic when I wear my anti-Wacko Wellstone button. Why is that.

Let me refresh you young person, the Co-Op movement was advanced by people oppreseed by the unenlightened corporate movement to starve people out of existence from their homes, especially by the mining companies who distanded the extending of credit to striking miners. I know, my father was a Co-Op manager for 42 years, (not a coop manager, he left his chicken coops in Embarrass in 1941). I don't need any education about Co-Ops from you, since I don't think you have the background I have.

The people staffing the wacko environmental so-called coops in Virginia and Duluth are just that...Wackos. Why else would they be upset with my Wellstones Dead button?

We get our squeaky cheese from a friend who gets her milk from Pearson's in Cook, the only large dairy producer in our area, and by the way, nimrod, the ingredients are restricted to the time a cow gives birth to a calf. I'm Finn, you can't BS me, I grew up on squeaky cheese and I will not buy it from a Wellstone Wacko outfit. I absolutely hate the Sierra Club and hate that they have infiltrated our clean way of life up here. There...do you get it?

Now, nimrod, let's get to the issue of Co-Ops, not chicken coops. There was a movement in the 30-40's by the Red Co-Ops to overtake the White Co-Ops. Co-Op board members brought knives (pukkos) to board meetings during this period. The white Co-Ops, not coops, determined that the existence of the Co-Ops in our region did not rest with the Communists (like Natural Food Harvest and Whole Foods coops) so they wrote their by-laws to prevent that infiltration. You appear to be a on line researcher. Check out the history of the Central Co-Operative Wholesale, later CCI, and you will learn a lot...young fellow.

Any questions? Post back. You can't argue the Co-Op movement with me, not with the limited background you have!

lol, you make a lot of assumptions. I gotta a hunch I am in the same age group as you and I know all about the Coops/Co-Ops (so sensitive!) and the history.My parents shopped at CO-OP stores and so did I until they were no longer around. I am no young fellow. I also well remember, back in the day, there were people who refused to shop at any CO-OP stores because they thought they were subversive socialist/communist outfits as you must remember. Oh, the irony. Latter day CO-OPs shunned because they were "communists" and you hate present day coops for the same reason.

Those damn commies ... they are everywhere! What's a fella to do?

Oh, yes ... just ignore.

That's right there, bf. I was called a communist as a kid, had to grow up with that stigma, and the teachers at school and city leaders did nothing to stop it. Bitter, you darn right I am.

The coops you talk about are communist oriented...Red coops. We would never accepted their political beliefs, our members WERE hard working rural and city people whose ancestors rejected the communist infiltration of a good clean society. In fact, most Co-Ops in my day were organized as Co-Op Societies.

Natural Foods and Whole Foods are not "white" Co-Ops. They are communist coops. I know the difference. My father, in 1978, wore a Bob Short for Senate button and a Keep the BWCA open button on his label as manager of the Northern Farmers Co-Op Society. Alpha Smaby, a wacko liberal from Minneapolis, whose husband Art Smaby was formerly President of Midland Cooperatives and had a cabin on the Cook end of Vermilion, verbally accosted my father and tried to order him to remove his buttons. He refused, stood his ground, and graciously instructed Alpha what a cooperative stood for. She threw a fit right there in the store. There you are bf. How do you account for that behavior from your communist side of the aisle?

My comments about the communist coops still in operation stand. Why else would they be so upset with my anti-Wellstone button? One of my best friends in life, Benny Rukavina died, I hated to lose him. But the best thing he gave to northern Minnesota, if he had to die, is when he did. We got rid of the worthless piece of human excrement Wellstone when that plane landed in the swamp south of Eveleth. I jumped for joy when my wife called me with some of the best news I have ever gotten in my life. To this day, I thank God for getting rid of Wellstone that day.

bf, you still haven't reported back on the Reds trying to take over the Co-Ops in northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the UP. Get back to us once you learn the facts. OC

Well my goodness. jt emerged out of it's hole in the ground to babble on this post. Yes, that's right jt, I did reference the wacko Wellstone and I am proud of doing so. Best thing that ever happened to northeastern Minnesota when that plane went down in the swamp. Wonderful and relief. But now we have Franken, it never ends.

How is life there underground in Arizona? Do the bugs and insects gnaw on you? Sounds to me each time you come up for air, you have comments that reflect someone who has been out of the reality of life for some time.

We will see what revelations you present to us in response.

For the other readers. I was Regional Coordinator of DFL Bob Short's U.S. Senate campaign. Alpha Smaby was an operative of the Donald Fraser U.S. Senate campaign. Short supported outboard motor and snowmobile use in the BWCA, the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms, as well as the NRA, and forest management that included logging in our state. Fraser was on the opposite side of these issues. Poor Alpha, the poor girl couldn't constrain herself and completely lost it when she saw my father's buttons and couldn't demand he remove them. I just loved it when my father told me of the episode.

This has nothing to do with labeling, but it just goes to show what a degenerate part of society that support communistic principles can do when they are confronted with the truth...jt.

Much of my wondering ... and even concern ... is perhaps being answered in the writings above.

jt: All I can say is that my posts got you out of your hole in the Arizona desert ground. How is the air above ground? Breathe deep, fresh air is good for your type, unless Al Gore says you shouldn't breathe at all, due to "Global warming". 8 inches of snow up here, where is your hero Al?

jt, Concern is right.

OC, you're living on a volcano of anger. I hope you find a healthy way to deal with that, talk to a professional. Seriously. I don't know what else to say except that I will pray for you.

I must agree with bonfire. The "centrism" seems to be overwhelming oc ... most clearly the egocentrism. And besides his irrational hatred for all people who seem to believe differently than he ... can only fire off idiotic names/labels.

I love it! Got you folks like a tiger by the tail. Keep it up, like I said. I nothing else to do in this weather and you two are great tigers.

I repeat ... "egocentrism". I I I

jt, you suffer from an inferiority complex. Maybe if you bless bf with your presence, you can get a group rate on therapy at the RMHC?

Patient continues to display erratic commentary, likely derived from delusional thinking

I had a great time getting two posters too willing to jump into the offer. Anyway, I will be too busy now to play with you, but when I'm bored and have little to do, I'll get back to you. You guys are too easy.

Patient ... delusional thinking includes assumptions of delusional grandeur as well as the social variety of delusional parasitosis.

The sad part is these are mostly untreatable ... simply meaning "no hope"

Orrcountry- I would love to buy you a cup of coffee, drink or a beer! Spending an hour with you would be delightful. I too was thrilled when the Wellstone plane went down. Some fools still put his bumper stickers on their cars "What would Wellstone do? "He was as anti-American as they come. I agree with all of your posts, I truly cannot say that about anyone else. Keep it up!

Ah ... and another with similar issues.

All of our food is genetically modified, unless it is certified organic. How the supposed "caring "progressives allowed this to happen is mysterious. Monsanto should be put out of business. Even the far le ft state of California voted down labelling. Wonder how much the lobbyists were paid?

You two better chat (OC and HRM) ... you are on different wave lengths

Doing a happy dance when a plane load of people die or wearing a button with a similar theme to amuse oneself is sick and twisted no matter what the deceased people's politics were. Jesus weeps.

Thanks to the biotech industry’s relentless quest to control our food, McDonald’s, Burger King and even school cafeterias will soon be able to serve up apples that won’t turn brown when they’re sliced or bitten into. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this new food miracle. Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. The biotech industry claims otherwise.

Like any non-organic apple, the new GMO Arctic® Apple will be drenched in toxic pesticide residues, untested by the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) and likely unlabeled. And of course these shiny new high-tech apples will cost less than a pesticide-free, nutrient-dense, old-fashioned organic apple that turns a little brown after you slice it up.

Unless we stop them, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will approve “Frankenapple” this year.

Hard Rock: Sure, someday we can get together for coffee and biscuit. Maybe sometime after winter is over. Yesterday morning, I had to go to Duluth for a couple of doctor appointments. I saw two Canadian Geese flying south, rather than north. Guess they probably figured they would try coming back next year. Don't tell bf or jt where we will be. They will probably tell Dianne Feinstein, Chuck-U Schumer and Whama Bama where we are and they will have the Boston police with their assault weapons, the same ones they had on the street this week, but the same ones Feinstein, Schumber and Whama-Bama says we have to get off the streets. Hypocrites, wouldn't you say?

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