Over 60 countries have restrictions and 26 countries ban GMOs, so many wonder why the USA isn’t in this conversation. GMO, which stands for Genetically Modified Organism, are mainly found in food products. According to many polls, over 90 percent of Americans want their food labeled indicating whether or not it has been genetically modified.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling act (H.R. 1599) has recently caused dispute among Americans and government officials. This proposed bill it doesn’t sound that bad at first, who doesn’t want to eat safe food and have it labeled accurately? Many Americans and government officials oppose this bill though and have renamed it the DARK act, which stands for Deny Americans the Right to Know, hinting at the real intentions of this bill.
The DARK act found on Congress.Gov states why H.R.1599 would be so dangerous if put into law. “The FDA may require a GMO food to have a label that informs consumers of a material difference between the GMO food and a comparable food if the disclosure is necessary to protect public health and safety or to prevent the label from being false or misleading. The use of a GMO does not, by itself, constitute a material difference.”
The DARK act goes on stating GMO labeling is only relevant if there is a material difference in GMOs in comparison to conventional crops (not genetically modified). Later stating that “The use of a GMO does not, by itself, constitute a material difference.”
This DARK act firmly states that GMOs are no different than regular crops, suggesting that it is reasonable to label GMOs as natural food. Genetically modified food in no way is natural, you’d be hard pressed to find a genetically modified food growing by itself, unless a farmer planted a genetically modified seed. GMOs aren’t natural and would have never been found originally in nature before they became massed produced.
You tell me if this certain GMO sounds natural to you, GMO cabbage, which isn’t on the market yet, contains genes from a scorpion in it. Yes, I said scorpion, the scaly animal that resides in deserts. Putting the scorpion gene into cabbage protects it from a caterpillar that eats the cabbage. The scorpion toxin will be continually released killing any caterpillar. Scientist claim that this toxin has been modified and cannot harm humans. Let’s hope this to be true.
Considering the cabbage as actual food is okay, but to take the next step and eat this frankenfood is extensive. It’s faulty to eat this food because of the surrounding controversies with certain GMO foods. Many GMOs have been planted with lies around them. Although some scientists (many also say it’s bad for human consumption) say this food is safe to eat, changing up the human genome on a whim, for beneficial profits seems rather absurd and dangerous as we truly cannot know GMOs can affect the human genome in hundreds of years.
Read here is the DARK act from congress.gov.
“(b) Determination Of Material Difference Between Food From Genetically Engineered Plants And Comparable Foods.—
“(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of subsection (a), the use of genetic engineering does not, by itself, constitute information that is material for purposes of determining whether there is a difference between a food produced from, containing, or consisting of a genetically engineered plant and a comparable food.
“(2) LABELING REQUIRED.—The Secretary may require that the labeling of a food produced from, containing, or consisting of a genetically engineered plant contain a statement to adequately inform consumers of a difference between the food so produced and its comparable food if the Secretary determines that—
“(A) there is a material difference in the functional, nutritional, or compositional characteristics, allergenicity, or other attributes between the food so produced and its comparable food; and
“(B) the disclosure of such material difference is necessary to protect public health and safety or to prevent the label or labeling of the food so produced from being false or misleading in any particular.”.
Thus labeling will be required for genetically modified food if they can determine that is is different nutritionally or allergenically from food that isn’t genetically modified.
For these reasons, the DARK act cannot be passed. It is no secret that genetically modified foods are nutritionally and allergenically different.
For example, golden rice is genetically modified. Golden rice, although not on the food market yet is undergoing trials as the pro-GMO community has hopes in finding it safe, efficacious and viable for human consumption. This select GMO golden rice, is selectively modified and enhanced to have more vitamin A in it.
One cannot argue that this ‘Golden Rice’ isn’t nutritionally different than any conventionally grown rice. Having been enhanced with vitamin A, if this GMO makes it on the market it will need to be labeled (so why would someone even write the DARK act, considering golden rice’s main intent is to be nutritionally different to help third world countries with vitamin A disorders.), but that isn’t the purpose of this bill. The DARK act has been proposed to help out the pro-GMO community and potentially harm the conventional and organic community if passed.
In terms of Allergenicity, GMOs have been known to have had a hand in the allergy epidemic. Robyn O’Brien, who published the book “The Unhealthy Truth” in 2009 has found some alarming facts. According to her book, the year genetically modified soy was released in the United Kingdom, soy allergies raised fifty percent. Researchers have also found that soy’s trypsin inhibitor, which is what’s found to cause many allergic reactions in soy, has been found to be 27 percent higher in genetically modified soy.
Many might argue “I don’t eat soy.” Soy is in almost everything and in almost all of fast food. Soy is also in 75 percent of foods in supermarkets and 91 percent of this soy is genetically modified. So if we know genetically modified soy does in fact have increment on soy allergies, with a country that is going through an allergy epidemic, one begins to wonder.
While the argument is still scientifically up in the air on whether or not GMOs increase food allergies on a mass level, there is proof they can raise allergies explicitly. Sadly as a food eater and writer, it’s very difficult to find sources and studies of any kind that prove or disprove the idea of GMOs causing a widespread allergy epidemic. This is mainly because there aren’t many studies done that have been peer reviewed and hold credibility without conflict of interest.
Food allergies in the United States have raised 50 percent overall since 1997 to 2011, GMOs approximately surfaced around the year as GMOs became prevalent in 1996. To try to push the DARK act through America’s legal system saying GMOs don’t increase food allergies at this point is controversial. Not having conducted proper studies on GMOs and allergenicity, stating GMOs have not had an effect on the allergy epidemic sounds more like opinion, rather than fact.
Regarding the Safe and Accurate Labeling Act, better known by its opponents as the Dark Act which stands for “Deny Americans the Right to Know” is a disgrace to this country. To see a bill which is an oxymoron within itself trying to make its way through the government is very pathetic. If this bill does get passed, it will show just how corrupt the government has become with corporate interest, indubitable strengthening the pro-GMO community.