New Yorkers just scored a small victory as legislators passed a bill to give small organic farmers immunity from biotech companies that wish to sue them for property theft in the event that genetically engineered crops accidentally contaminate their fields. Historically, there has been no legal defense for these organic farmers who want nothing to do with GMO crops, especially in the unfortunate instance of cross-contamination. If the NY State Senate approves this bill, it will result in organic farmers being safe from biotech bullying.
In other news regarding GMOs, NY is now poised to pass GMO labeling laws. Vermont successfully became the first state to mandate GMO labeling but was subsequently sued by the food industry casting the new law into limbo. Both Maine and Connecticut have passed similar laws that only kick into effect if surrounding states pass labeling laws. Currently, several states have active GMO labeling bills undergoing the litigious process.
If you live in NY, find out if your assemblyman cosponsored this bill and supports it (you can check your county here). After Dauntless Dialogue spoke with Otsego County’s Assemblyman Bill Magee who does not support the bill, it became clear that filibustering was his M.O. and he did not address any legitimate data. The only thing he repeated was “the cost was concerning.” If this is to be taken as an example of what your assemblyman might say to you, just remember the following fact. A Consumers Union report showed that GMO labeling would cost the consumer less than a penny a day. This caused him to filibuster even more, avoiding any solid data. He just kept assuring me that he “would look into it.” It is clear that our democratic process is irredeemably broken.
New Yorkers should raise their voices and concerns over this commonsense health freedom issue by contacting their assemblyman at this website. There is a contact form to reach your assemblyman directly, and below I have written a sample letter for you to copy and paste. The whole process will take less than a minute. They also have phone numbers so you can call their offices directly.
We, the conscientious and concerned citizens of Otsego County, wish to see Bill A00617, also known as the “GMO Labeling Bill,” be passed for the health and well-being of consumers and the environment alike. We wish to see you support this bill and this movement overall, because it directly impacts consumers’ health and purchasing habits.
We believe we have the right to know whether or not genetically engineered organisms are used in commercial food products and agricultural seeds and crops. Our right to know what is in our food supply trumps corporate interests. Penalties for misleading or false claims should also be instituted to protect the consumer.
Politicians often say that the American public embraces GMOs in the marketplace, but without the ability for the public to know and choose accordingly how can anyone assume that the public won’t reject GMOs?
GMO labeling is not an issue that should be decided by the food industry; it should be decided by the people – and moreover, ethics. Monsanto, Syngenta, and the rest of the biotech industry is gambling with our health and the health of the ecosystem. If informed consent of GMO ingredients is not publicly disclosed, then a grave crime has been committed in the violation of consumers’ right to know what they are eating. Many ethical companies have already opted to become non-GMO verified, but the process is lengthy and costly.
An analysis issued by the Consumers Union reports that GMO labeling will cost the consumer less than a penny a day. GMOs have been linked to various adverse health effects and it is essential for consumers to be informed via product labeling to exercise discretion over the health risks they take in the marketplace.