March to Label Engineered Food

By Beacon Staff

Young moms like Sylvia Malaga of Whitefish are organizing an educational day of action called the “March against Monsanto.” These events are planned in 200 places worldwide. One hundred and sixty are in the U.S with four rallies in Montana. The Kalispell event is Saturday, May 25 from noon to 5 p.m. at Depot Park. It is open to the public.

Malaga is part of a growing generation that unknowingly could be eating genetically modified organisms their entire lives. Her child is born into a generation that does not know life before GMOs.

Malaga took action, and wants information about engineered foods. “Our march focuses on labeling genetically engineered foods so that each family can make their own decisions on whether they want to eat them or not,” Malaga wrote.

Malaga hopes that once GMO products are labeled, the marketplace will let informed consumers decide what to eat.

GMOs have saturated the corporate food market. They’re likely in soda pop, corn chips and most processed food.

Congress is unwilling to make the profitable corporate agricultural industry add one more piece of information to the extensive list of food labeling. Consumers simply want to know which foods are engineered and which are traditional foods.

Only certified organic foods or trusting where your local farmer purchases their seed assures a family it is not eating engineered products.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of a synthetic glyphosate are annually sprayed in the field, as GMO products are resistant to the herbicide while it somewhat kills competing weeds. This creates a sickening prospect for a generation of unknowing GMO eaters.

Last year as part of the Farm Bill, Sen. Jon Tester was one of only 26 Senators voting to allow states the right to label GMO foods. The Farm Bill largely subsidizes GMO crops like corn, sugar beets, canola and soybeans. This commodity foursome is plentiful in processed foods.
Tester is now backing a bipartisan bill requiring that genetically engineered food is labeled. Tester said, “American families shouldn’t have to play a guessing game when it comes to the food they put on their kitchen tables.”

Tester cosponsored another bill to eliminate hunger, help young farmers grow and work toward labeling.

Engineered foods are also drifting into other food arenas like salmon, apples and into garden-variety seeds available on store aisles.

Tester has a long history of advocating for farming. He exempted small family farmers from federal regulations targeted toward corporate agriculture practices.

Last month Tester was on the Senate floor mad about a secret GMO rider on a bill keeping government open. The law signed by President Barack Obama, covertly gives industry protection from lawsuits challenging the health or safety of GMOs. Tester was the only Democrat in the Senate voting against this law.

Back in 2005 while serving in the Montana Legislature, Tester sponsored a bill to establish liability for genetically engineered wheat grown in the state. Montana still has the purest, best wheat grown anywhere.

The 2013 Farm Bill is on the move in Congress. Eaters can only hope that that more courageous congressmen join Tester requiring a label on GMOs.

As a candidate, Obama advocated for labeling. But as president, Obama has been coldly silent about labeling engineered products. Instead, the federal agencies charged with food oversight have been overrun by the GMO industry.

Having been ignored too long, it’s increasingly likely that progressive eaters will stay home during the 2014 midterm elections.

Mothers like Malaga and farmers like Tester are doing their respective duty to secure a transparent food system for all eaters.

Flathead eaters should join Malaga and the hundreds of other invitees from across the valley at the May 25 educational rally. Consumers must become actively engaged in this growing food movement.

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