Frightening Food Part III: GMO Labeling, Monsanto Meddling or Mission Impossible?

By Kevin Joseph Ryan

In Part II of this report, we told you who is pushing the Vermont bill H. 772, now dead in the 2012 legislature, and why they might be interested in such a law. It will be back next year, and no doubt the very same people will be promoting it. So, we left off by telling you that they made the claim that Vermont will not pass that bill because Monsanto, a widely-villianized corporation in the eyes of the left, had threatened to take legal action. Now, TNR tells you what really happened and why the bill creates more confusion than it clears up.

Monsanto has not been involved in the GMO labeling debate directly at all, in fact. This bears repeating, in case you didn’t catch it the first time. Monsanto has NOT been directly involved in any effort regarding GMO labeling in Vermont.

Where Cedar Circle Farm Manager Will Allen’s claim comes from, is that two women, Rachel Lattimore and Margaret Laggis, who have worked with the Biological Industry Organization, were asked, and said that the State would get sued if a GMO labeling law were passed. Monsanto is one of 1100 members of the organization, whose membership includes Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. If it’s fair to say that Monsanto is threatening Vermont into backing off this law, then it would fair to say that MIT and John Hopkins is going to sue also. That probably would not play quite as well with activists, however.

When confronted with the question of whether Monsanto had actually made such a threat to take legal action, Will Allen responded to TNR by saying, “I don’t think we need Mission: Impossible to figure this out. Do we? Look, I don’t want to argue with you, it’s not worth it to me.” I’m sure that it wasn’t. Mr. Allen already had his 300 GMO activists at the statehouse.

Will Allen told the crowd assembled that GMO foods represented a threat to the public, and had been responsible for increased risk of unintended health issues, increased allergies and even liver and kidney formations. What he neglected to mention to the group is that even as a certified organic farm, Cedar Circle does use Bacillus Thuringienis, a naturally occurring pesticide used in GMO foods, which is cited by GMO opponents as the prime cause of organ malformations, the hive collapse of bees and even as a threat to the Monarch Butterfly.

So why the deception? As stated in Part I of this report, Cedar Circle stands to make a mint by promoting the supposed danger of GMO food. Organic fruits and vegetables make up more than 11% of all such food sold in the U.S. as of 2010 and the industry has grown into a $27 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone, and $55 billion worldwide. As a similar GMO labeling law in France has shown, labeling of GMO food products will cause a downturn in sales of GMO food.

However, Mr. Allen, Cedar Circle Farm and VPIRG claims, Vermonters have a “Right to Know” what’s in their food. People have stated strongly that they do want to know whether GMO’s are in their food. If the proposed bill supported by Cedar Circle and VPRIG passes, it might just become harder to know for sure if the food you eat contains GMO materials. The bill contains the following exceptions:

1. Animal meat fed with GMO seed would not be labeled.

2. Food grown with GMO seed unintentionally would not be labeled.

3. Food grown with GMO additives would not be labeled.

4. GMO beverages would not be labeled.

5. Foods with GMO additives would not labeled until 2019

6. Food with no detectable GMO’s does not have to be labeled.

7. Food certified organic does not have to be labeled even if it contains GMO‘s, even those with BT.

8. Restaurant foods with GMO’s does not have to be labeled.

9. GMO Food with a medical purpose would not require labeling.

How does that sit with your “Right to Know” what’s in your food? It sits just fine with those who make a living selling organic food, maybe not so well with the public.

Kevin Ryan has never worked for Monsanto a day in his life, but he has been known to enjoy Hostess Cupcakes, a food that probably has GMO’s in it.


2 thoughts on “Frightening Food Part III: GMO Labeling, Monsanto Meddling or Mission Impossible?

  1. Vanessa….I’m going with false on all three of your claims.

    1. BT is used as a pesticide itself.
    2. Yes, BT is blamed for these things.
    3. The FDA does not certify Organic, the USDA does. Certified organic can include small traces of GMO, 100% cert cannot.

  2. Just want to clarify a few things…
    1) “Bacillus Thuringienis, a naturally occurring pesticide used in GMO foods” False. The bacteria is natural, yes. But, the bacteria produces a pesticide and is not actually used as a pesticide itself. A gene from this bacteria has been put in GMO crops, then this gene makes a protein that acts as a pesticide. So GMO crops aren’t sprayed with this bacteria or anything.
    2) “Bacillus Thuringienis… which is cited by GMO opponents as the prime cause of organ malformations, the hive collapse of bees and even as a threat to the Monarch Butterfly.” False. Bacillus Thuringienis GMOs have their own issues, but they are not attributed to organ malformations, colony collapse or declining monarch butterfly populations. These issues are attributed to “Round-up Ready” GMOs like soybeans. These crops have a gene added that allows them to be resistant to the herbicide Round-up (which is poisonous). These GMO crops are sprayed with herbicide that kills weeds but not the soybeans making them way easier to grow. These other herbicides sprayed on the GMO soybeans are toxic, not only to people, but to wildlife, causing declining amphibian and insect populations.
    3) FDA Certified Organic food cannot contain anything with GMOs. Non-certified organic products that claim they are “organic” may contain up to 5% GMOs. The latter must be the category that Cedar Circle farms falls into.

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