Want to know where the dirty money is which is helping to make GMO labeling illegal?
Shockingly, or perhaps not to the individuals who have been observing the biotech charade, house members who voted to keep the public from knowing what is in their food in the latest land-slide win for Big Food supporters of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (known to its critics as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act)) were paid three times as much as representatives who voted to give us the right to label or ban GMO foods.
It seems odd that the bill would float through Congress so easily with a 275 to 150 vote when so many Americans have expressed a wish to have their food labeled. The Center for Food safety says that 93% of Americans want their food labeled if it contains GM ingredients. And that is just one of many surveys showing similar results:
Surveys repeatedly show that 80 percent to 95 percent of people want foods that contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled (in the least). Here is a simple breakdown of some reported polls on consumer demand for GMO labeling:
- The New York Times: 93% found to be in support of labeling GMOs
- MSNBC: 96% in support
- Reuters/NPR: 93% in support of full labeling
- Washington Post: 95% in support of full labeling
- Consumer Reports: 95% agree GM animals should be labeled
- ABC News: 93% want federal GM labeling mandate
Really – we label everything from pillows with warning labels – ‘this tag not to be removed’ to our pants. Why not GM foods? What is it that Big Ag is trying to hide from us?
Usually, if everyone wants to purchase something, the free market dictates that companies jump on the bandwagon and try to sell that something – but not with genetically modified food. Our rights have been trampled on, and you have the right to know who has bought in this recent landslide vote in favor of the biotech industry and business as usual that protects profits instead of people.
According to opensecrets.org, this is where the money trail leads:
…the campaigns of Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), all cosponsors of the legislation (most of whom also sit on the House Agriculture Committee), received six-figure dollar amounts from providers of agricultural services and products — one segment of the agribusiness sector — during the 2014 election cycle. That put them high among the top 20 recipients of funds from the industry.
- Cosponsors such as Reps. David Valadao (R-Calif.), Steve Fincher (R-Tenn.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) aren’t on the Agriculture Committee, but nevertheless pulled in six-figure dollar amounts from the crop production and basic processing industry (another part of agribusiness; think Cargill Inc. and the National Corn Growers Association) during the midterm cycle — landing them among the 20 members who received the most from that industry.
Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), two original sponsors of the legislation, were the top two current House members receiving the most money from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2014. The grocery manufacturers — who have spent $4.1 million lobbying on all issues so far this year, almost as much as they spent in all of 2014 — have lobbied on the bill more than any other organization, mentioning the measure on 14 lobbying reports this year.
Do you see your representative in this list? If you do, they certainly weren’t representing you.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.