Editor’s Note: Tanya Hawley, Vice-President of NoGMO4Michigan recently provided us an update on the continuing efforts to label GMOs and to educate consumers on the danger of GMOs in Michigan and the United States.
DEFINITION: Genetic modification is the process of forcing genes from one species into another entirely unrelated species. Unlike cross breeding or hybridization—both of which involve two related species and have been done without ill effects for centuries—genetic engineering forcefully breaches the naturally occurring barriers between species. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide. There is a growing body of evidence that connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
THE GOOD NEWS
• There is an upward trend in the consumer demand for non GMO products — seen with Smucker’s nonGMO raspberry jam and other companies like Ruffles and Campbell’s soups producing organic goods. Costco, a large membership only warehouse, has stocked large amounts of organics, including large bags of flour and sugar.
• Some farmers are returning to conventional seed, instead of GMO, partially due to consumer pressure.
• Non-GMO Project Verified is the fastest growing label in the natural products industry, representing $7 billion in annual sales and more than 21,000 verified products. With consumers today, the Non-GMO Project seal is the most trusted sign that a product comes from best practices for GMO avoidance.
• Here in Michigan, we remain diligent in regard to our educational efforts. The Grand Rapids chapter is the most active chapter.
• We have a model bill for GMOs that can be used if we can find some political
sponsors in the state.
THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS
• The USDA recently approved GMO apples.
• There is a continued resistance against banning GMOs in the United States.
WHAT YOU THE CONSUMER CAN DO:
• Join NoGMO4Michigan to stay informed and help with the fight.
• Contact your local legislator and let him/her know your stance on GMOs.
• Buy local and organic.
• Request nonGMO products from the places you shop and eat.