GMO In the Know – July 12th, 2013
A wrap-up of GMO-related headlines and developments.
Despite common industry claims that genetically engineered crops decrease pesticide use, farmers have continued to turn to increased usage of chemicals on GE crops to combat the growing emergence of resistant pests, also known as “superbugs”. Chemical comapnies that sell soil insecticides used on corn crops have seen profits increase by as much as 100% over the past two years.
Governor Paul LePage has announced he will sign LD 718, a bill voted through by Maine’s House and Senate in June to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. The signing of the bill will be delayed until early next year, however, to allow the state to prepare for any potential lawsuits that may arise. More than 26 states have introduced similar legislation this year, signaling a surge in momentum for the food transparency movement. “Consumers in Massachusetts will demand the same right to know as consumers in Maine and Maryland,” said Scott Faber, Executive Director of Just Label It.
Forbes contributor Kevin Coupe offers a refreshing perspective on the GMO labeling debate, and the importance of transparency. While he identifies as a biotechnology supporter, he argues that “people who do not want to consume GMOs deserve as much consideration as people who want to keep Kosher, people with wheat allergies who need to stay away from gluten, or people with nut allergies.”
One of the most complex topics expected to be discussed in trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union, beginning this week, is restrictions on genetically engineered crops. The United States’ wide acceptance of GE crops differs greatly from the E.U.’s precautionary approach to biotechnology, where many countries ban GMOs and all require labeling. While many hope Europe will continue to remain a reference point for food transparency, some expect that the U.S. could push Europe to loosen its standards.