As the United States wrestles over whether or not genetically engineered foods should be labeled (as they have been in other countries since their introduction in the 1990s), a new report shows that 73% of those polled think that the planting of these same ingredients should be banned altogether in the European Union.
So what gives? Why would some countries want to ban food crops and the ingredients derived from them while eaters in the United States haven’t even been told these things were going into our food supply in the first place?
Introduced into our food in the 1990s, genetically engineered ingredients were the product of a new technology used in our food and agricultural systems, a technology that allows crops to withstand increasing doses of toxic and controversial weedkillers or to actually enable crops like corn to synthesize (and make internally within the plant) their very own insecticides.
Technology can be pretty amazing, right? So instead of spraying insecticides across corn fields, biotech scientists working for big chemical companies figured out how to engineer those insecticides straight into the plant itself, so that it can release them as it grows. Great business model if you’re a chemical company. But what about the consumer? And why didn’t we label these things here?
Well, if the countries in Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, about 40 countries around the world, are any indicator, the consumers, when they saw these things on the label, decided to opt out. So much so that France doesn’t really even want them planted in their soil. And now a poll shows 73% don’t want them planted in the European Union.
So how did we miss this dialogue here in the United States? Why weren’t we given this same right when this new technology and these ingredients were introduced without labels. There was no “Intel Inside” kind of label. We simply weren’t given the right to know or the right to choose the way consumers in other developed countries were.
So why are the chemical companies urging farmers to grow crops that other countries don’t want? You don’t have to look far to find the answer. With shareholders to report to, the buck stops here. In the United States, on our farms. It’s where the bottom line hits.
But what’s fascinating is that in conversations with farmers (and if you’ve never sat down with one, you should, as most of them have families that have been feeding our families and country for generations), you will quickly learn that this new operating system introduced on the farm, which enable the use of these toxic weedkillers, doesn’t seem to be working out as planned. Weeds have supersized themselves, building immunity to these chemicals, and now farmers are looking for other options.
If the recent poll is any indicator, it looks like that might be a smart business move as a growing number of countries around the world continue to opt out of these genetically engineered crops. Sure, the chemical companies pushing these products don’t want that to happen, they’d sell discounted seeds to show a successful adoption rate just the way a tech start up gives away its product in the early stages, too. But if this poll is any indicator, the ‘opt-out’ might be happening anyway.
Want to learn more, please visit Just Label It.