Obama Newspeak: Labeling Food as GM-Free is False, Misleading and Deceptive, even When it is True

They look the same to the feds.

They look the same to the feds.

If you were hoping that there might be some change in the United States government’s official position on genetically modified and genetically engineered (GM/GE) foods under an Obama administration, tough luck.

Last month there was the appointment of big-time GM/GE advocate (and former Monsanto lobbyist) Islam Siddiqui as the country’s chief agricultural negotiator. Now comes a position paper from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that opposes labeling for genetically modified food. The U.S. claims that letting consumers know whether or not GM/GE products are contained in food is “false, misleading, or deceptive.”

You read that correctly.  In Obama Newspeak, telling the public the truth is false, misleading or deceptive, while concealing facts is not. Incidentally, the language is identical to that used by the previous administrations. How’s that for change?

The policy prompted yowls of outrage form more than 80 organic, environmental, food-production, and public health groups. They dispatched a letter earlier this week urging Michael Taylor (another Monsanto man—is there a trend here?), who is deputy commissioner at the FDA, and Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture to reconsider. “We are concerned that the current U.S. position could potentially create serious problems for food processors in the U.S. who wish to indicate that their products contain no GE ingredients, including on organic food,” the letter said.

The administration intends to argue its position at a meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling, a United Nations body that sets labeling rules for food in international trade. Codex will be meeting May 3-7 in Quebec City. The government feels that Codex should not “suggest or imply that GM/GE foods are in any way different from other foods.”

“The agenda of the biotech industry is that if consumers don’t know about it, they will eat it,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Washington, D. C.-based Food and Water Watch. “Our government shouldn’t be carrying the water for the biotech industry, a group that tries not to let the public know what it is doing.”

The new policy directly contradicts the USDA’s current organic regulations, the groups point out in the letter. USDA organic rules clearly say that GM crops are different from traditional ones and prohibit using modified seeds, and organic producers often label their products as GM-Free. “Such foods are clearly different,” the letter states. “We are, in fact, concerned that that the current U.S. position appears to seek to establish a precedent at Codex that would make it difficult to label food as non-GM within the U.S.”

Agribusiness would love nothing better.

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8 comments

  1. sissie says:

    That is beyond disgraceful.

    Guess I’ll have to plant my heritage seeds, grow a big garden this year and learn how to can my own fruits and veggies.

    People need to realize what codex is and what is going to do to the human population of this planet.

    Maybe if people realize what is happening to our food they will make other arrangements..

    If they don’t have any customers they will be forced to go back to selling healthy natural products or go out of business.

    Either way, I won’t be eating any unlabeled or labeled GMO foods.

  2. jake says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m an evil scientist, but I do think that GM labeling would be misleading.

    There’s a big difference between genetic modifications that makes me grow a third eyeball and the many genetic modifications that caused corn to be what it is today, rather than the 1/2 inch long ear that it was a few hundred years ago when people first started eating it.

    There are good GM’s and bad GM’s; GM’s that are accomplished via selective breeding over years and GM’s done in a lab, but those two pairs of circles would not be identical or exclusive on a venn diagram.

    You can create good laboratory GM’s and bad breeding GM’s (think about bananas).

    Yes, genetic modifications can make it easier for my neighbor to blanket his yard with pesticides that will kill everything other than her special grass.

    Genetic modifications can also make food easier to grow with less or entirely without pesticides and herbicides. Genetic modifications can make foods that are more healthful so more nutrition per unit energy consumption.

    GM labeling is deceptive in the same way that organic labeling can be: it makes people think something is better for them and the environment when the case is not that simple.

    As to the agribuisness side…if you win this fight then those companies will simply incorporate this just like they have done organic labeling. And they will be using more pesticides and herbicides on those crops.

  3. april scott says:

    Dear Jake,

    You are an evil scientist if you are of the opinion that America, a free nation, has no right to choose non-GM food products. I have reviewed what science shows to be a major difference between GM and non-GM foods. I, as a mother, and as an American consumer resent the notion that we do not have a right to choose. Shame on you Mr. Big Ag. Just last week they released a new study out of Russia showing that hamsters fed a diet of GM Soy were unable to reproduce by the third generation. Other studies have shown, Studies showed stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, abnormal and potentially pre-cancerous cell growth in the intestines, impaired blood cell development, misshaped cell structures in the liver, pancreas and testicles, altered gene expression and cell metabolism, liver and kidney lesions, partially atrophied livers, inflamed kidneys, less developed organs, reduced digestive enzymes, higher blood sugar, inflamed lung tissue, increased death rates and higher offspring mortality as well[3].
    That is enough for me. My child will never eat your GM Frankenstein foods. I can’t believe anyone with a heart, much less a brain would promote such disasterous practices with our food supply. You must work for Monsanto. It’s obvious that their only goal is world domination through control of the food supply. You think a chemical company turned agricultural company can be trusted to feed the world? Should they be trusted after their involvement in the development and release of so many toxic materials that have destroyed lives and maimed those that were exposed. You are only speaking from your back pocket. Jake. You are welcome to refer to my story in Salem-News.Com titled “While We Were Sleeping….GM Food and the Brink of No Return”. Americans are angry to that Ag businesses want to take away our right to choose. I will not let you justify it behind your money hungry misrepresations. You guys are not God. You have no right to manipulate nature (which is perfect) and resell it to an unknowing public for profit. You are evil!!!

  4. jake says:

    Dear April,

    I heard that eating even small amounts of tapioca can kill you! Hyperbole should be used by those with senses of humor.

    I do not like big ag. I think we should end the insane subsidy practice we have now that is great for agribuisness.

    I compost. I do not use any chemicals on my lawn or garden. I go to my local farmer’s market. While not vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat, and I do my best to consume in a sustainable fashion.

    I am also a scientist and actually understand how research is done and how it is presented. I also understand statistics. You seem to be gripped by fear of something that you do not fully understand. I am aware that I don’t fully understand it, but I do understand that labeling will NOT hurt agribuisness. It will hurt small farmers who don’t have the cash to get certified.

    Sincerely,
    Jake

  5. Mike says:

    Dear Jake et al,

    I think the ultimate issue is not so much, “is it safe,” because certainly SOME modifications could be entirely safe or even beneficial (although incorporating pesticides into the plant only leads to higher resistances of the bugs, leading to new generations of GM plants with higher levels of pesticides…it’s a spiral), but I digress.

    The basic, simple real issue is this: don’t I have a right as a human being to know exactly what I’m putting into my mouth? That’s why we have labels on foods as a requirement. I’m all for letting the consumer make the choice, and if the GM changes to the produce are so spectacular, let those changes be known and clearly stated. Then people will WANT them and even ONLY BUY GM foods if they are so great. In other words, if these GM foods are so great, then what is there to fear in simply labelling them and also explaining what the changes are?

    This discussion goes to the heart of what it means to have a free society. People need to be allowed to know what they are buying. We can cut out all the name-calling and labelling, and just pare it down to this one simple issue. We are Americans, and we want to know what we are putting into our mouths. There are very real health issues that could arise from tampered products, and until those studies are done fairly and openly, we consumers should not be expected to “trust” that the governement or some big corporations have our best interests at heart, especially given the govt’s track record.

    It seems we have a govt “of the corporations, by the corporations” instead of of and by the people anymore.

  6. bobby says:

    Mike you are absolutely right,
    US CODE: Title 28,3002. Definitions
    (15) “United States” means —
    (A) a Federal corporation;
    (B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
    (C) an instrumentality of the United States.
    Where does it mention the actual states?
    Trusting the government? HA! Where does 1.3 trillion dollars go to every 2 years? this was addressed to Rumsfeld years ago, he is still scratching his @$$ instead of an answer. The big bastar… boys from Monsanto were seeing visiting Bush’s ranch…and he was the one who refused to sign a referendum made by 87 !!! countries to label all GM “food”, feed and such. Another thing that one might find in the same definitions, if you do a lengthy research: “person” means a corporation, a federal officer, blah blah blah, but not us who get poisoned, but we do must pay illegal taxes, this money is used against us!!!!!!!!!!

  7. website says:

    Extremely worthwhile article – many thanks!

  8. Tyent says:

    It’s a disgrace what the governments are forcing upon us, even when they know it is not beneficial to us.

    Aren’t the government supposed to represent the people – Huh, think that went out the window about 80 years ago… now all they want to do is suck up to the people providing them with campaign money…

    Let the people decide if they want GM food.

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