During this last election Oregon had the opportunity to vote on Measure 92 otherwise know as the Oregon Right to Know Act. This initiative would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients or “genetically modified organisms.” Although the initiative was voted down the results were very close, with a margin of only 1.2 percent, which demonstrates the continuing controversy over this issue.
Millions and millions of dollars have been put into the campaigns for both sides of this initiative, because each side wanted to ensure their success over this highly controversial issue. Big food production corporations like Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer paid millions for the “No on 92 coalition.”
While companies like these who also strongly disagree with requiring the labeling of GMOs argue that it is because food prices would increase, and there is not enough scientific evidence to support the negative effects of GMOs. I think it is interesting to point out that the same corporations that are arguing against labeling have also created these organisms and profit off of their use. In addition these companies have conducted the studies that the US government have used to approve these organisms.So I think that these food companies are actually just fearful that if the initiative was passed their sales would decrease significantly, which is why they are pouring so much money into keeping it from passing.
In contrast there are many people in support of the Oregon Right to Know Act, such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. These companies are arguing for the safety of our society and the environment, which is why they are so adamant about passing the act. These companies and other people in support of the act are not willing to risk the possibility of health damage, especially because we do not know a lot about the effects of these products yet. However it is generally supposed that they are unhealthy because they are unnatural.
From an environmental standpoint however, they are well known to be harmful. According to the Non-GMO Project over 80 percent of the GMOs grown are engineered for herbicide tolerance, and since the time that these organisms were created, toxic herbicide use has increased 15 times. These organisms have also led to the existence of “super bugs” and “super weeds,” which can only be killed with the use of more toxic chemicals. So it is no wonder that environmental organizations and enthusiasts are often for the prevention of these organisms and support their labeling.
Companies who support the need for labeling GMOs as well as companies that produce GMO free food products can now use this controversial issue for promotional opportunities. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and others supporting this initiative can increase their public relations by demonstrating that they feel that everyone has the right to know if genetically modified organisms are in their foods, and that they are working to better the environment by trying to put the companies who use these organisms on the spot, so that they will hopefully end up reducing their use. This also is extremely beneficial for organic food companies and other food production corporations who avoid the use of GMOs all together. These companies can now say that they are not only producing healthy food, but they are also working to be more sustainable by bettering the environment.