Back to the Blog – Political Food for Thought

During a busy period of moving, traveling and changes at work, I thought I was going to retire from my (short-lived) blogging hobby. When I was working on the blog this summer, I often felt like I didn’t have anything new to say, and that my voice was likely to getting lost in a sea of others’.

I just read another blogger’s post, however, that relit my fire and has brought me back. Reading this post made me realize that there are not enough voices out there right now advocating for sustainability and health, and that one person really can make an impact.

The Food Babe is another Charlotte blogger, and she is fighting hard for awareness and reform in our country’s food system. She was a delegate at the recent Democratic National Convention, championing the issue of labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food. I was excited to follow along with her throughout that week, knowing she was going to get to speak about this issue with many politicians and members of the media I admire.

Read her post here for more information on GMOs and for many Democrats’ responses.

Read this article for reasons why we don’t need genetically modified foods, and this article from the New York Times for additional background on the issue. Note that in the Times article, the author points out that according to a 2010 Thomson Reuters-NPR poll, nine out of 10 Americans said they did want genetically modified foods to be labeled.

Source: NYT

So having had this background on GMOs before the Democratic National Convention, I was disappointed in some of the reactions the Food Babe received when she brought up the issue to various politicians and members of the media.

I am disappointed in Bill Clinton for not being willing to discuss GMOs. He is a very public vegan and likely knows the importance of this issue. He knows what foods are good for us and what foods are bad for us, and I’m sure he believes that Americans need as much knowledge about what they are consuming as possible in order to maintain healthy lifestyles.

I am disappointed in Kay Hagan for not supporting labeling due to “the science of the issue.” I disagree with her argument because:

A. The science is there that GMOs are potentially harmful.

B. This fight is not even about science. It is about consumers having the right to know what chemicals they are choosing or are not choosing to put into their bodies. If I want to go to the grocery store and buy an apple, I believe it is my right to know how and where that apple was grown, and what kinds of chemicals were sprayed on it before I choose to bring it home.

I am disappointed in Chris Matthews. I really like him and his show, and I don’t like that he rolled his eyes at a question about this issue. Maybe he has never addressed GMO labeling on his show, but I know he has addressed healthcare issues, issues related to corporate transparency, and issues of corporate influence in politics – those are directly related to GMO labeling. And while I understand that there are many other important and visible issues to address in politics right now, he shouldn’t have rolled his eyes at a member of his own party who was out fighting for an issue she believes is important.

Finally, while the Food Babe didn’t speak with Barack Obama, I am still disappointed in his handling of the GMO issue. In 2007, he promised to bring about reform to label GMOs. Not only has he not addressed this issue since his election, he appointed Michael Taylor, a former vice president at Monsanto (the company that developed and has patents on many GMO seeds) as Deputy Commissioner of Foods.

From Monsanto to the FDA

With the money Obama’s administration (and prior administrations) have accepted from Monsanto and other “big food” companies, and with the influence Obama is allowing through this appointment, GMOs will never be labeled.

It is up to us – consumers, foodies, health advocates, environmentalists, youth – to keep bringing up the issue. Even though nine out of 10 of us want genetically modified foods to be labeled, it is still an uphill battle.

Talking about it, fighting for it, and possibly moving into the political realm ourselves one day is what it will take to bring about change.

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This entry was posted in Awareness, Charlotte, Nutrition, Policy, Politics, Public Health, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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