Have we just witnessed Big Ag’s first legislative strike against labeling of genetically modified foods in one of Big Ag’s home states? North Carolina Rep. Glen Bradley, an advocate for consumer rights introduced a bill earlier this year to require labeling of genetically modified foods. House Bill 446 sought to require “labeling of food and milk products sold in this state that are or that contain genetically modified food and or milk and milk products from animals that have received recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).” First introduced on March 23, 2011 it was passed the very next day to the Agriculture Committee where it promptly withered and died. A representative from the office of House Bill 446 co-sponsor Rep. Bill Faison told us that it was highly unlikely to be revived this year. If I were a cynical person, I would speculate that we have Big Ag to thank for this bill’s death. Why? Because industrial agricultural companies are the only entities that profit from our ignorance of what is in our food.
Despite claims from the likes of Monsanto and the biotech industry that GE crops are an environmental panacea and will feed the world, two decades after they first went on sale the evidence suggests that GE’s key golden promises are beginning to look more like epic failures…[metaslider id=14538]
So Who Really Benefits?
The billions of dollars spent by the likes of Monsanto on PR, lobbying Congress, and bullying and threatening other nations has certainly helped to maintain the fascination with this seemingly glamorous technological solution among politicians and policymakers. But the honeymoon is now over: emerging science from both home and abroad is raising serious questions about the long-term benefits and risks of GE crops. What’s more, mounting anecdotal evidence suggests that U.S. farmers are beginning to regret sowing the crops in the first place.
But even if you think the collateral damage to global biodiversity associated with GE crops and the intensification of farming is a necessary cost, my question is this: if GE crops don’t actually reduce overall pesticide use or increase crop yields, and if most independent scientists around the world contend that GE crop technology offers limited solutions to the challenges of poverty and hunger in developing countries, and further contend that available research funding would be much better spent on other research areas if we’re going to feed the world sustainably, then exactly who or what stands to benefit from the fixation on GE crop technology—other than Monsanto, its shareholders, and its army of lackeys?