By Soil Association
For a decade, the biotech industry has managed to keep the American consumer populations in the dark about what they eat, after lobbying the Food and Drug Federation (FDA) and different US state governments. to ensure that transgenic foods are not legally labeled as such. But developments in the US market suggest that the tide is turning against the pro-GMO lobby
How the American public is starting to be against genetically modified foods
Despite the fact that 87% of the American population believes that their food should be labeled according to whether or not genetically modified products are used in its production, almost none have it. Consequently, genetically modified foods have been sold in the US for many years and in many places - without the consuming population knowing that they are buying. The powerful GMO lobby in the US has used this data as proof that the public accepts GM foods, or at least has a neutral stance. But, given a choice, more than 50% of the American population says they would not eat genetically modified foods.
For a decade, the biotech industry has managed to keep American consumer populations in the dark about what they eat, after lobbying the Food and Drug Federation (FDA) and various US state governments. to ensure that transgenic foods are not legally labeled as such. But developments in the US market suggest that the tide is turning against the pro - GMO lobby. This report is not intended to cover all relevant issues, but rather to focus on some significant changes that are not being taken into account in the current debate about GMOs in the UK.
In 1994 Monsanto developed a genetically modified bovine growth hormone (rBST) that is injected into dairy cows to increase milk production performance. From the beginning, this transgenic hormone has received international criticism from the perspective of the risks it poses to human health and animal welfare. While Canada and the EU rejected it, the US FDA and the WTO rated it as safe and it has been widely used in the US dairy industry, without any labeling of the milk as "genetically modified." Monsanto worked hard to ensure that the consuming population had no choice - even getting some state governments to ban dairies from selling their milk labeled "without artificial growth hormones." But greater awareness and sensitivity among the US consumer population regarding rBST has led to a drastic drop in milk sales. Between 2002 and 2007, hormone use fell 23%, and the percentage of American cows injected with rBST fell from 25% to less than 17%.
Responding to the wishes of their customers, many milk production, processing and sales interests are moving to ban the use of rBST in their products, with Walmart, Safeway, Starbucks, Kraft and many more ensuring that their customers can buy dairy free of transgenics. Opposition to rBST has grown so high that Monsanto announced this month that it would sell the product.
While seeing this growing rejection of GM foods by the American consuming population, GMO companies have also had to face opposition from the US agricultural population and regulatory authorities to a number of new GM products. There was so much opposition to GM wheat and rice that they did not progress from the trial fields and were never commercially grown in the US. Almost no sweet corn is grown either (unlike corn for livestock feed), for the simple reason that it tastes so bad that the consuming population does not buy it.
Attempts to commercialize transgenic alfalfa, America's fourth largest crop in terms of acreage, also failed. Male and female farmers took legal action against the deliberate release of GM alfalfa and won. In 2007 the US Department of Agriculture received an order to withdraw the authorization of transgenic alfalfa, there is a ban on the cultivation of it and the sale of transgenic alfalfa seeds is prohibited in the entire United States. There is also evidence that US plant breeding interests are rejecting GM technology in favor of safer and more efficient methods such as marker assisted selection. Although soy is one of the most widely cultivated genetically modified crops, the most recent high-yield events are not GMO.
For the first time in the US, there is a major labeling initiative that will finally give the consuming population the option to choose a wide range of non-GM foods. The largest companies in the natural and organic industry have come together to develop a “non-genetically modified” labeling initiative that offers the consumer population the choice they obviously want, supported by a strong verification system to ensure that the labeling is safe. trust. This new “Non-GM Project” will be launched this year. It is led by a group of companies with joint annual sales of at least $ 12 billion - which is equivalent to almost 10% of the entire UK food and beverage industry. About 400 companies in Canada and the US support the initiative, which will initially cover around 28,000 products.
As the consuming, agrarian and political American population loses its enthusiasm for GM crops, it is not surprising that biotech companies are redoubling their efforts to find a new market in Europe. But in Europe, more than 175 regions and 4,500 municipalities and local areas have declared themselves “GMO-free”. Major countries that once supported GMOs have stopped doing so and the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales have pro "GMO-free" policies. It seems that it is solely the government of England, markedly pro-GMO, that is increasingly out of touch with what its consuming population wants.
Soil Association - www.soilassociation.org.uk / NETWORK FOR A GMO-FREE LATIN AMERICA