July 5, 2011
Some good news on the “GMO Labeling” front for a change?
The new Codex Alimentarius agreement coming out of the latest Codex Commission meeting assures us that if any country decides to voluntarily label GMO foods, it can do so without the threat of World Trade Organization (WTO) legal challenges. In other words, because we want to know what is in our food, and enough pressure has been put on governments to label these toxic substances, the United Nations graciously consents to allow such labeling without fear of global retribution via the WTO. Now isn’t that special!
“In a striking reversal of their previous position, on Tuesday, during the annual Codex summit in Geneva, the US delegation dropped its opposition to the GM labeling guidance document, allowing it to move forward and become an official Codex text.” (Consumers International)
Codex has capitulated on the GM labeling issue after a battle spanning approximately 20 years, stating that it will allow countries to label GMOs and the WTO will not legally challenge them for it. And do you know what countries stood in staunch opposition to this? Why, the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, and Argentina, with the U.S. being the strongest force against any form of labeling.
“In all countries with large-scale cultivation, more GM plants were sown in 2008 than in the previous year. One half of the global area under cultivation may be found in the USA (63.5 mil. hectares), which is followed by Argentina (21.0), Brazil (15.8), India (7.6), Canada (7.6), Paraguay (2.7) and South Africa (1.8).” (GMO Compass)
With such an investment in spreading GMOs worldwide, it comes as no surprise that any labeling would be seen as a threat to future sales. After all, most people that I know of would rather eat dirt than GMOs. And those that don’t know that they are eating them would be made aware if they were labeled “Contains GMOs” and just might start to do some research of their own as to what a GMO is, and decide that eating a plant with DNA-changing properties might not be such a good idea. Now wouldn’t that put a crimp in future profits for the biotech industry, and Monsanto in particular?
So, the rule is, you can label if you want to, and the WTO won’t punish you. But keep an eye out for a blatant and/or covert manipulation of this ruling. Or, as Marti Oakley says:
“Watch them come out with some sort of hokey pokey regulations that only they can make heads or tails of, which will allow labeling only under certain conditions, on certain products if they were grown in magic fields tended by fat fairies.”
Hopefully, some good will come of this, but trusting the United Nations is like trusting the rattler that snuck into your bedroll not to strike when you snug up for the night. And remember, although countries will not get sued for unfair trade practices under WTO regulations if they choose to label GMOs, it is a far cry from mandatory labeling, and still a further cry from complete eradication of this scourge, which should be the only option considering the planetary implications involved in spreading GMOs around like candy.
As for mandatory labeling? Don’t hold your breath. The United States and whatever countries it can bribe, own, or outright force into supporting its position of free-range GMOs, will not give up the fight against any form of voluntary or mandatory labeling.
© 2011 Barbara H. Peterson
Note: Thanks to Charlotte for the alert!