GMO food producers want to put “natural” on their products


Every day provides us with another indication of how we are slipping into an Orwellian world when black is white and white is black. The latest to get my attention is an article in Bloomberg Online reporting that producers of GMO (genetically modified organism) foods want the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to let them use the word “natural” on the labels for their food products. I’m not sure how tomatoes with fish genes that were artificially introduced into the tomato genome can honestly be called “natural.” But, that’s the favor Big Business wants Big Government to do them.

Say this for the U.S.’s big food producers: They have no shortage of chutzpah. That’s the biggest conclusion one can draw from a plan by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to demand that regulators allow its members to put the “natural” label on foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

The details can be found in a Dec. 5 letter from the trade group’s general counsel to the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees food labeling. The letter doesn’t just ask the FDA for a ruling on the “natural” designation; it also seems designed to force the agency’s hand by noting that the trade group plans to file a citizen petition demanding such a ruling.

Maybe the letter’s timing is a coincidence, though that seems unlikely: The trade group spearheaded a successful drive in November to narrowly defeat a ballot initiative in Washington state that would have required the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. At least three other states are planning similar initiatives in the coming year, while more than a dozen others are also considering labeling requirements. Connecticut just passed a law mandating disclosure of genetically modified ingredients.

If the FDA gives the go-ahead to labeling genetically modified foods as “natural,” it would be a huge win for major food producers and agricultural-products makers such as seedmaker Monsanto Co. Presumably, an FDA labeling rule would trump Connecticut’s law and preempt other states from adopting similar legislation.

Ask yourself, are these glow-in-the-dark pigs in this Daily Mail story “natural?” What the heck, they only have a little jelly fish DNA in them. And, doesn’t it seem to anybody that this could be a little dangerous? Do these so-called “scientists” know what’s going to stem from this combination if pig and jelly fish DNA? If you’re saying “yes, sure” then I have a prime stretch of beach front property in Arizona I’d like to get you into … real cheap.

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About Mike
A resident of the “30 square miles surrounded by reality,” I spend most of my time teaching economics and statistics to undergraduate students. I enjoy, naturally, economics and business, but also science (I was once an astronomical observatory assistant), politics, photography, food, travel and sports. Madison has grown quite a bit since 1978 when Governor Lee Dreyfus made that remark. According to Wikipedia, Madison is 67.3 square miles of land and 16 square miles of water. Visit http://thisgotmyattention.wordpress.com/about/ for one of my favorite views of the isthmus. Or, why not come visit us! http://visitmadison.com

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