The governments of the US and Canada stand in sharp contrast to sixty other countries around the world, including the European Union, Russia, and China, by not requiring foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be so labeled. They do so despite good evidence that GMOs could have negative health implications for humans and the environment, and despite the fact that 87% of American consumers want products that contain GMO ingredients to be labeled.
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit originally formed by retailers whose customers were concerned about foods containing GMO ingredients. There are estimates that up to 70% of processed foods on store shelves contain ingredients from genetically engineered crops. According to Jeffrey Smith, the author of Seeds of Deception, “Many consumers in the US mistakenly believe that the FDA approves GM foods through rigorous, in-depth, long-term studies. In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Instead the agency relies on research from companies like Monsanto, research that is meticulously designed to avoid finding problems. It’s easy to understand the FDA’s industry-friendly policy on regulation of GMOs when you see the revolving door between agency regulators and the companies they regulate. The FDA has claimed it was not aware of any information showing that GM crops were different ‘in any meaningful or uniform way’ from non-GMO crops and therefore didn’t require testing. But 44,000 internal FDA documents made public by a lawsuit show that was a complete lie. The overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists was that GM food was quite different and could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. It turns out that FDA scientists who had urged superiors to require long-term studies were ignored.”
The Non-GMO Project was founded on the premise that consumers have the right to choose whether or not they consume GMOs. The adoption of the Non-GMO Project Standard in March 2008 was a milestone, North America’s first independent third party standard for production systems designed to avoid GMOs, available at www.NonGMOProject.org. The project now includes CEOs and top executives from firms like Whole Foods Market, Lundberg Family Farms, Eden Foods, Organic Valley, United Natural Foods Inc., and Nature’s Path Organic Foods. Manufacturers, processors, growers, and seed companies are invited to enroll their products. Currently, 350 products may carry the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal beginning October 2009 once they are identified as compliant with the standard. The certification program is process-based and encompasses traceability, segregation, and testing at critical control points.
The consumption of certified organic food—the only way now known to avoid GMO-consumption—has become increasingly important for practitioners and their patients with allergies, asthma, learning and behavior disorders, chemical sensitivities, cancer, and toxic body burden. In a statement issued in December 2000, the American Medical Association indicated that “GM foods have been available for fewer than ten years. Food products from more than 3000 million acres of GM plant products have been grown globally over the past six years. Worldwide, many people are eating GM foods with no overt adverse effects on human health reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and according to regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, long-term effects are theoretically possible.”
It appears that thanks to the FDA’s less-than-optimal regulation of genetically modified food, the American public is “the experiment.” It’s time to completely reform the FDA, a thorough overhaul of every part of the FDA. The purpose www.ReformFDA.org is to persuade the American public and Congress that a total reform of the FDA is absolutely necessary. Visit www.ReformFDA.org to sign the petition and learn more.