Why GMO Labeling is Important

Jeffrey-Smith-GMO-FrankencornThe Ethical Eating Task Force, in connection with the Colorado Council of Churches and Right to Know Colorado recently ran a free screening of the film GMO-OMG and it was frightening. Did you know that Monsanto corn is actually designated a pesticide?

Here is how the University Of Kentucky’s College Of Agriculture explains how GMO corn works to kill pests:

“To kill a susceptible insect, a part of the plant that contains the Bt protein (not all parts of the plant necessarily contain the protein in equal concentrations) must be ingested. Within minutes, the protein binds to the gut wall and the insect stops feeding. Within hours, the gut wall breaks down and normal gut bacteria invade the body cavity. The insect dies of septicaemia as bacteria multiply in the blood. Even among Lepidoptera larvae (butterflies), species differ in sensitivity to the Bt protein.”

So how does the Bt protein know it is only supposed to remain in the plant stem, and not the kernels that form the ears of corn we eat?  We don’t know. In the Q&A section of the Colorado State University’s publication Bt Corn: Health and the Environment, in response to the question: “Is the entire Bt corn plant toxic?” the answer is “It depends…Different seed companies use different events and promoters, so their hybrids will also be different in what plant tissues produce Bt toxins.”

The problem is that you as a consumer have no way of knowing whether your corn came from seed engineered by Monsanto, Syngenta or another company, nor what events and promoters they used (or even what an event and promoter are). What this means is that your family may be eating foods that contain the same Bt protein that effectively kills insects.

If you want to knowingly expose your family to that risk, then that is certainly your choice. But don’t you think we all should have a right to know what is in our food so we can make that choice?

“Yes on Prop 105” is an initiative on this year’s November ballot that would require food that contains genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such. Opponents of the initiative claim that labeling would drive up the cost of food, but that hasn’t happened in other countries where GMO labeling is mandatory, nor did costs go up when U.S. food manufacturers started slapping “gluten free,” “natural,” “lite” or other labels on their products.

The Unitarian Universalist Association, along with the Colorado Council of Churches, supports GMO labeling. You should have a right to know what is in the food you eat. Please vote responsibly.

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