This blog is not about the historic accomplishment of Roger Maris in 1961, when he hit 61 home runs in a single season for the new record. Many say that but for performance enhancing drugs, Maris would still hold the record today. The reference to 61 in the title of this blog, represents the amount of nations world wide, that have label laws requiring genetically engineered (GE) food to be labeled as such. 61 nations that believe the consumer has the right to know what is in the food they are buying. 61 nations that believe the consumer has the right to choose what they are putting into their bodies. Amazingly, the United States promulgated as the champion of democracy, is not one of those nations. This is notwithstanding that many surveys indicate that as much as 90% of all Americans, are in favor of GE foods being labeled.
Today in the United States the food we now know as "organic", our grandparents knew simply as "food". Many say the reason for this is because the Monsanto headed biotech industry, not the governmental agencies such as the USDA and FDA, control the food supply in our country. Some people even consider what we call food today, to be a chemical based food-like science experiment with "we the people" as the guinea pigs.
Remember that California's Proposition 37 for a GE label law, only failed by a few percentage points after a 46 million dollar campaign against it by Monsanto and company. Many believe that if GE foods are perfectly safe, then Monsanto and company would not be opposed to a label law enforcing the consumer's right to know, let alone spend 46 million dollars to prevent such a law in one state.
Notwithstanding, the campaign for consumer rights continues and is now focused in the state of Washington. The state of Washington has proposed people's initiative 522, also known as "The People's Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act". Although this proposal pertains to the state of Washington, the results will affect the entire country.
It wasn't until 1990 that we had a label law requiring listing calorie and nutritional information, 2002 before country of origin information was required to be listed and 2006 before trans fat content was required to be labeled. Today, all of these label requirements are considered to be very important to consumers.
If you are among those who believe the time has come for the United States to join the other 61 nations around the world and implement a federal GE label law, then it is time to put your beliefs into action. Whenever possible, buy only US certified organic or GMO free foods. Tell your local grocer that you have the right to know what is in your food and demand that they provide food with labels that support that right. Support Washington's I-522 proposal and support your local organic farmers. Buy foods that are minimally processed or better yet, not processed at all. Every successful movement starts with the power of one.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.