The GMO Labeling Conundrum

September 28, 2014 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) It would seem that large agricultural corporations touting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) they claim possess enhanced benefits for farmers and consumers would be proud to differentiate their products on the shelves from organic and traditionally produced food. However that is not the case. Not only is big-ag attempting to hide the true nature of their products, but the many big-business food processors that incorporate GMO ingredients into their final products are likewise attempting to mislead consumers.

The obvious fear is that consumers will avoid GMO products in favor of those not labeled as modified. While other arguments have been made in attempts to justify not properly labeling food as genetically modified or not, the underlying theme appears to be the belief of big-ag that consumers' ignorance over the alleged safety of GMO products threatens their business and with it, innovations they claim are a benefit not only to their bottom lines, but to all of humanity.

Of course, beneath the layers of this "belief," is the reality that their products do not offer any overwhelming benefit to humanity, and in fact, in many ways, have become a scourge to humanity. Additionally, peripheral arguments, such as GMO being in no way different to organic products, thus there is no need to label them, are so divergent from logic and commonsense that a general suspicion and distrust has formed in the collective mind of the public in regards to big-ag and those pushing their products.

To counter the growing ire of the general public, big-ag has raised an army of professional propagandists peddling pro-GMO talking points in the form of books, websites, mainstream media reportage and even while posing as ordinary citizens simply expressing their "opinions" in comment sections and upon what are supposed to appear as independent personal blogs. They, to no one's surprise, repeat verbatim the talking points proposed by big-ag itself, and while anti-GMO activists eagerly wade into the fray with this army of propagandists, the only relevant question that should be asked seems to escape them all.

If GMO is Better, Why Not Label it So You Can Find and Consume it Easier?

Everything from nutritionally superior "Golden Rice" to super-safe insect and herbicide resistant GMO corn and soy are endlessly touted by big-ag and its army of propagandists as vastly superior in every conceivable way to organically grown crops. In terms of nutrition, economics, and even environmental impact, GMO is portrayed as the next step in agricultural evolution. At the same time, paradoxically (simply to avoid labeling it) big-ag and its army of supporters claim it is no different than organic food and even claims that the process of, for example, injecting spinach genes into oranges, is no different than natural selection or selective breeding.

Of course, you would expect this army of GMO proponents to sustain themselves on a diet exclusively consisting of GMO food. And to make it easier for them to sort out "antiquated" organic food from enhanced, "super-GMO food," you would expect these proponents to want their products of choice proudly labeled as containing GMO. And yet they seem to prefer a labeling system that causes confusion and doubt about what products contain their preferred "super-GMO food," and which do not. It would almost seem as if they would prefer to be surprised, along with anti-GMO activists and more rational people who would rather not ingest genetically modified organisms peddled by insidious mega-corporations.

The question of why GMO proponents are so desperately trying to hide this "super-food" on the shelves next to ordinary, "subpar" products needs to be answered, and in the minds of many rational adults, the conspiracy to cover up an unsafe, unwanted product produced by unsafe, unwanted corporations is already as clear as day.

Big-Ag Abusing Biotechnology Hinders, Not Helps Progress 

Marketing gimmicks and manufactured "popularity" currently sustain big-ag's various rackets, be they factory farming or their abuse of biotechnology in every conceivable way. There monopolistic agenda hides behind every tagline and campaign. Whether it is corrupting Asia's ancient rice cultivation, deceiving Western consumers at the supermarket, or attempting to push genetically modified organisms as the answer to almost every conceivable problem, profit and power lurks closely behind.

It is clear that there is a backlash against big-ag GMO and that knowledge of what is and isn't tainted by big-ag's meddling will only cause that backlash to both focus more sharply while simultaneously growing. To push back, big-ag has assembled an army of shameless collaborators who insidiously mislead the public, while resisting attempts to label their products honestly.

Instead of blaming the "ignorance" of the population for rejecting their "super-GMO foods," perhaps big-ag should look within. It may not be the outlook of ordinary people that they should eat organic, natural food that is antiquated, but rather big-ag's irrational and unsustainable thirst for profits and power. Those working within the biotechnology industry should reevaluate their allegiance to their corporate employers and consider the damage they may be doing to biotechnology in general by perpetuating its wholesale abuse at the hands of big-ag giants like Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, and others.

Big-ag monopolies are a threat to both national food security and subsequently, national sovereignty. The abuse of biotechnology takes an otherwise promising toolset and associates it almost exclusively with the villainy of unscrupulous corporate monopolies. The resistance to labeling products honestly is yet another indictment of the overall dishonesty of big-ag's self-serving agenda, an agenda that clearly prefers ignorance over knowledge, profits over people and power over progress.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.