Evidence, facts, truth and transparency are not the tools of those that loathe GMO (transgenic plant) technology.
A food label is an amalgam of marketing and facts. The marketing comes from clever minds that probe public sentiment in an attempt to influence their buying decisions. They influence the smaller minds among us to desire products that might not be nutritionally sound. They also provide marketing claims that may not be scientifically vetted.
The label also contains facts. The panel on nutrition content provides critical information about the number of servings per unit, the calories the sugars, fats, fiber and vitamins. It provides information about many aspects of a product's nutritional content, along with a list of ingredients.
The marketing and the facts must never mix. The facts are scientifically derived and provide important health information that can base a life-or-death decision for a diabetic or someone with allergies.
Advocates for transgenic-product labeling say that more information about food is good, and I agree. I like knowing country of origin or in some cases the variety of fruits and veggies I buy. But we should not label foods containing transgenic crops.
Here's the problem. Labeling only works if we have honesty and transparency. Anti GMO interests know the power of a label in marketing, and want to manipulate consumers with a label based on bogus information. They know how to market fear. The anti-GMO interests are some of the most adept alarmist fact deniers, their claims are largely scientifically bankrupt, and they lack sophistication necessary to differentiate between something that is dangerous and something that is helpful. That's a pretty wide chasm!
Couple this to an extensive network of anti-GMO propaganda (like Natural News, Seeds of Deception, GMO Watch and others) that seeks to scare, yet is wrapped in a patina of education.
Add this to the fact that Americans lack sophistication to digest scientific information and you have a perfect storm of influence. Here are some real results from the 2012 National Science Foundation Report on Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Understanding. I wish these were not real, but they are.
Americans don't understand science, so they are easily manipulated by those with an agenda,
such as the anti-plan biotechnolgy interests. The numbers represent the percent of responses that were correct. Remember, these are true-false, so the numbers are likely inflated from those that guessed and got it right.
This is just an excerpt from the report. Here 73% of Americans are confident that the Earth goes around the Sun. Seems like an okay statistic until we consider that 27% do not. The next question shows that 53% of Americans do not accept that human being evolved from earlier species.
The next question is the central reason why we can't label transgenic food. The survey reveals that 47% of Americans say that "ordinary tomatoes do not contain genes, while genetically modified tomatoes do."
The lack of scientific understanding is laughable. Worse, it opens the know-nothing consumer to manipulation by anti-transgenic interests. Whether they hate Monsanto or just scientists, these folks clearly distort the truth and look the other way on factual evidence that does not support their conclusion that frankenfoods are deadly and should be banned.
You can read more about this in one of my previous posts on how they are either liars, they don't know what they are talking about, or both.
Anti-GMO interests can use their platform of fear and disinformation to frighten and malign. Does it work? Sure does! Even though there is not a shred of reproducible evidence of harm from independent laboratories on GMO danger, they skillful rhetoric of the anti-scientists works. Here are the attitudes from another leg of the survey, asked to Americans in 2000 and 2010.
The last two columns show data from 2000 and 2010 in the same NSF survey. The number represents the percent of people surveyed that agree with the statement.
In this survey, 58% of people think modifying genes in crops is dangerous. Another 16% don't know. Only 26% understands that manipulating genes in crops has been the norm since before there were crops, as human domestication of wild weeds, crossing and selection have been the most extensive genetic modifications in history!
Most unfortunately, 58% have succumbed to the disinformation machine and project harm on a technology where none has been established by science.
This is why we can't label. Such information needs to be factual, and until the information campaigns against GMO technology start working in facts, the conversation must end there. If labeling succeeds you will see a massive outpouring of disinformation about the danger of GMO food on websites and opinion-based resources. Consumers (that clearly know nothing) will be swayed by fear and a safe technology will be further sullied in public perception.
I'm all for labeling if the factual part is based on science. At this point, there is no danger, no harm, and no need for specific labeling.