This month, The Times of India reported that the Indian government will require food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be labeled as such, beginning in January 2013. While Greenpeace India welcomed the change overall, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Shivani Shah noted the minimal impact in a statement: “While labeling does give consumers a chance for avoiding genetically modified food in the market, what our Government seems to forget is that it is almost impractical in India, where more than 90% of our food is unprocessed and non-packaged.”
Nevertheless, India’s progressive choice puts them in the company of over 50 other industrialized countries. Notably absent in this group is the United States, as evident by the failure of the Sanders/Boxer GMO labeling amendment inclusion to the 2013 Farm Bill. Voted down 26-73 in the Senate, the amendment that proposed labeling of all food with GMOs had little chance of passing, thanks to the heavy lobbying by the major processed food industries, and companies such as Monsanto. See how your senator voted.
At the local level, over twenty states have introduced GMO labeling bills in the last twelve months, the biggest being the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act coming to vote in California this November. Sunfood fully supports this measure, which would require simple labels for foods made from genetically modified ingredients.
Even political comedian Bill Maher weighed in on Monsanto and GMOs on the June 22 2012 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. Watch:
Bill Maher, whose panel included Nick Gillespie, Rachel Maddow, Mort Zuckerman and Mark Ruffalo, noted that in Europe, only 5% of food is genetically modified. In the U.S., 70% of food is genetically modified. As AddictingInfo noted, Maher was “slightly off in that statistic;” while 70% of processed food contain GM ingredients, up to 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans and 88% of cotton is genetically modified.
“This is the very first time a bill on labeling genetically engineered food has been brought before the Senate,” said bill co-sponsor Bernie Sanders. “It was opposed by virtually every major food corporation in the country.” The Oregon senator is one of two members of the senate without an affiliation to a major political party.
As non-GMO, and organic food advocates, we’ll be watching all of the legal maneuvers around GMO labeling very closely, and recommend that you follow the Non-GMO Project, Organic Consumer Association, Food Democracy Now! & Organic Trade Association. Stay active, stay vocal and vote!