The left is in a frenzy over the American agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto and other agribusinesses that tinker with crop genetics. Is there any truth to their scare stories asserting that we’re being poisoned with “Frankenfood,” breeding new strains of superbugs and superpests?
Genetically modified crops, known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms), have been used by American farmers since the mid-1990s in order to increase crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides. The FDA has approved their use. Today, 70-80 percent of grocery products in the U.S. include genetically engineered ingredients. In contrast, only 5 percent of the food sold in Europe contains GMOs, due to governmental restrictions.
According to opponents of GMOs, “The concern is that genetic modification alters the proteins in foods in ways that researchers do not yet fully understand. Substances that have never existed before in nature are entering our food supply untested.” In addition to ingesting modified food, people are eating livestock that has been fed GMOs. Food sensitivities, allergies and other health problems have been increasing in recent years, and opponents claim it is due to GMOs. Where the science gets murky is whether this correlation is true.
Efforts are being made by the left to pass laws requiring the labeling of GMOs. In Washington state, Initiative 522 would require fruits, vegetables and grain-based products to be labeled, but exempts meat and dairy products from animals fed genetically engineered grains. Monsanto has contributed $4.6 million to defeat I-522, and opponents are outspending proponents by more than three to one. A similar initiative lost in California last year, where opponents including agribusiness and major food manufacturers outspent proponents almost five to one. Initiatives have passed in Connecticut and Maine, and legislation is pending in 20 states.