Food Fight: The Debate over GMO Labels

Food Fight: The Debate over GMO Labels

2013, Health  -   63 Comments
Ratings: 7.87/10 from 83 users.

The debate over whether the American people should be fully aware of what their food is, and how and where it comes from, wages on in Food Fight: The Debate Over GMO Labels. Over 70% of the food on supermarket shelves today has some level of GMO-integration in it. 88% or more of all corn, cotton, soybean, and canola crops are of the GMO variety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers GMO crops to be "substantially equivalent" to those bred via traditional means, and does not require they be labeled on the whole.

There are no studies that point to specific cases of illnesses derived from the ingestion of GMO foods, but as Stephen Trinkaus, the owner of Terra Organics, explains, we do not have sufficient long-term data to determine whether less immediate negative effects have already or will arise from eating foods that we are tinkering with the makeup of at a genetic level. Allergy development, cancer proliferation - these are things that would not show up right away and that GMOs could be correlated with.

The goal of most GMO research and alterations, in the food realm, is to make them more tolerant of herbicides and increase crop yields - reasonable pursuits. A great deal of the products containing them are of the processed variety - cookies, chips, crackers, cereals. The debate at present is not really whether they should exist at all, but rather whether manufacturers of these foodstuffs should be forced to differentiate their products from those that are not genetically modified in the labeling that consumers make their decisions based upon.

The film takes us to the actual farmers growing our food to shed light on the issue, many of which insist that GMOs pose no increase in risk to the people that consume them. There are also many views expressed that align with the advocacy of introducing yet-to-be-instituted GMOs - heart-healthy oils into wheat and the like are small modifications that could come from new strains of the crop that might very well improve our quality of life. Regardless of where you might stand on the issue, Washington's Food Fight will absolutely leave you more capable of arguing your viewpoint.

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63 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rachel

    I watched another doco on GMO and Montsanto. They made a very good point. Most companies want their name on their products likie Microsoft or Nike. Why is GMO trying to hide. If it is really not different or even superior they would be bragging about being GMO

    1. Abby

      "GMO" isn't a company. Another ignorant comment.

  2. Eric

    At 20:05, he reaches into a bag of Alfalfa seeds treated with fungicide. Listen to what the guy says, but notice the thick latex gloves.

  3. Pierre Decarie

    I have seen many reports about the fact that although they are not dangerous, they usualy have less tha half of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc, that what could find in our traditional, biological foods of 20 - 30 years ago. It is proven that theys gold old diformed, and even wierd looking tomatoes, carrots, potatoes etc. etc. Are as whole healthier, and better for you, but now people are (already) so used to the perfect looking version(s) that now these are what the consumers want, and expect, to the point that many think that these arethe genitically modified ones. So they now stear clear of the odd shaped ones, butt if only they knew what the real trade of is. Second point, what about bio diversity in all this? How are we going to find the original gentics in say 80 years? I'd very curious to know what these GMO lobbyists, and corporate CEOs buy during theyr weekly groceries, I bet you they go buy, or maybe have somenone else go buy for them (they can affordit) All natural, biological produce because first they taste better, and are better for you. Bet you they're "private chefs" do not want to deal with GMO bulls _ _ t, after all theyre name & reputation as chef(s) are on the line. So naturally they go for the best of everything, and the best of everything is NON GMO. I now live in Vietnam, and I very happy to say that here they banned GMO, and Monsanto is prohibited from entenring any product. But as per anywhere else just plain general polution is also getting to be a problem, especially in fish, sea-foods.

  4. DotR

    I think what makes GMOs so bad for your body is the BT toxins injected in the plants and the toxic chemicals sprayed on them.

  5. blaice

    That president tripping all over himself was hilarious. What an a**. Probably gets paid an extra mill on top of his grossly over paid salary already. What a joke. He is the epitome of the ones backing GMOs because of PROFIT. Nothing else.

  6. blaice

    That farmer is so damn ignorant and self-concerned, yet saying the nation's health isn't good for his kids. I can't help laughing and his idiocy and hypocrisy.

  7. Sharine Haymes

    All the people that are for GMO foods and talked about their reasoning on why they are behind it make me sick, I can't believe how uneducated, and naive they can be. I just want to scream at my screen. Educate yourself before you decide to become a farmer and produce food for hundreds of thousands of people.

  8. Polar Jo

    this is 'not' an issue 'just' about food safety (which is significant- how long and how vigorous should longitudinal studies be when it comes to FOOD we grow and Eat to sustain and improve our lives?). I would and many others, argue...those studies need to be very large, very diverse, and very 'independent'. That is NOT what is occurring and we are REASONABLE in being angry about that! 2nd: the gmo Industry has put patents on seeds (patents on LIFE)- and those few very large monopolies want to and intend to CONTROL the worlds food supplies by owning 'all' the seeds, and the fertilizers, and the pesticides. WE the people have a right to also be angry about that! GM/GMO crops stand for a much bigger debate, so labelling just gives the consumer one more choice about how they would vote for or against the goals of the super corps responsible. My vote is easy - I think humans should not have to 'pay' anyone in order to be able to live/survive on out planet; to me that means 'if' one wishes they can find homestead lands, live off those lands by growing their own food, building their own shelters and equipment, saving their own seeds, bartering and sharing, etc.I think we have to find ways that allow us to have more and more reasonable control of our own lives rather then less - and if the power brokers of today do not align with these human needs, then I believe there will be greater revolutions and the mighty will fall, as they have always in the past - usually, because once again they "went too far'!

  9. Healer

    If you want to understand the total picture of this please consider that the US and Canada also have no one child policies like China has. I believe this is designed to replace them so our governments can say they are not the same as communists. They aren't believe me, they are worse. As a herbalist I believe the food chain is now being used as population control and this is how.

    I am certified organic only, and in perfect health at 65.

  10. Paul Gloor

    I can get behind that modified salmon providing its produced and maintained in a responsible manner that it doesn't escape or otherwise cause problems in the natural environment. What I can't get behind is 'roundup ready' etc that produce a dependent market.
    GMO labeling is more a social issue than it is a health issue.

    1. Fabien L

      The patent on glyphosate (active ingredient of Round Up) has expired years ago. It's not a dependent market anymore for that herbicide. The patents on the herbicide resistance genes have started to expire too. It really never was a dependent market anyhow, any farmer was always free to not use GM crops as the plethora of organic farmers proves.

  11. lorijb

    my self I just prefer to eat the real food, people need to start thinking about all the pesticides they are also eating and feeding there kids.

  12. mycial

    "We will keep their lifespan short and their minds weak while pretending to do the opposite. We will use our knowledge of science and technology in subtle ways so they will never see what is happening. We will use soft metals, aging accelerators and sedatives in food and water, also in the air. They will be blanketed by poisons everywhere they turn. The SECRET COVENANT Google it. The reason for chemtrails GMO FOODS, tv. Vaccines is to change humans into heretic monsters by 2025. As the elite travel the stars. This is a zoo planet slave planet, we must open our eyes to see these evil creatures In human forms.

    1. a_no_n

      Your is another in a long line of absurd comments that are based entirely on ignorance and paranoia.

      Chemtrails don't's water vapour. Even Spitfires and Messerschmidt during the war left vapor trails behind them.

      Aging accellerators in the water? is that why the average life expectancy is shooting up?

      The only evil creature I around here is the bullshitasaurus rex.

    2. Fabien L

      When I see posts like yours, I really miss the Vote down option. You really need to explain the magical process of how vaccines will transform humans into heretic monsters because there is no coherent scientific way to explain such a transformation.

  13. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

    lies by so many people in there

    1. your mom


  14. Aranyani

    If GMO is so great why are they spending so much money to defeat labeling?

    1. Jim Greenfield

      60 million $ in Washington and California alone.And both state bills were defeated by 1 or 2 votes.Oregon's up next again,there is very strong sentiment there for labeling these products as well as a much more defined guideline for studying the effects long and short term.And w/o Monsanto's guiding principles.

    2. a_no_n

      If they're so bad why does the organic food and alternative health industry spend so much money on demonising it?

    3. InvisibleHandInMyPants

      Your response is illogical. It makes sense for organic growers to express concerns about GMO foods.

    4. a_no_n

      yeah because they have a direct financial incentive. Organic farming is hideously inefficient (up to 25% less efficient than modern farming methods, GMO's could easily be twice as efficient again)

    5. Fabien L

      Fear of reduced sales and higher labeling costs.

    6. blaice

      The most pathetic part about all of this is that ORGANICS are the ones being labeled, when they shouldn't have to be! Gmos and pesticide infected produce and processed food should be the ones labeled... NOT the other way around.

  15. Russ G

    WTF debate over what is already a human right ????? .......... of course they should and already do have a right to know !

  16. sharpstuff

    This interference with Nature, from genetically modified foods. vaccinations based on the non-science of Germ Theory resulting in antibiotics and a plethora of useless and toxic pharmacological drugs, poor diets, will be the downfall of the flora and fauna of this planet.

    Type: The Importance of Good Terrain into YouTube search.

    1. M.LeFaux

      Well I see the pseudoscience has reared its ugly head. The Germ Theory has been verified on numerous occasions and, with its guiding principles being applied to practice, many millions of deaths have been prevented. To say antibiotics are "useless" is disingenuous at best - the next time you get an infection, let us see how likely you are to live without the germ theory, antibiotics or the like. Are antibiotics over prescribed? Yes, surely so and no professional would argue that fact, but to categorically call them useless is wrong.

    2. sharpstuff

      I beg to differ M.LeFaux. Show me exactly where the Germ Theory has been proven. In simple, if there were 'germs' out there, we would not be here at all. Modern 'medicine' is purely symptomalogical. Modern 'medicine' has cured nothing.

      The faux science is apparently yours. I have been studying all this stuff for over 50 years.

      I have not had any 'illness' for tens of years. I maintain a good terrain since a child. I never take drugs. I don't get sick.

      The problem with modern 'medicine' is that it studies the sick and not the healthy.

      I try to keep apolitical but vested interests in money are what drives so-called health-care. You have to take personal responsibility for your health, no-one else can.

      See The Antibiotic Myth on YouTube and be awakened.

    3. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

      nailed it ! ;)

    4. a_no_n

      wow...a germ denier. I feel like i'm back in the 1800's.

      Modern medecine has cured nothing? well gosh all the kids who didn't die or get crippled by Polio this year will be very upset to hear that.

      Whilst you've been living in your bubble, modern medicine has increased peoples life expectancy by almost double what it was fifty years ago. It has practically irradicated infant mortality, it's found a way for HIV/ Aids sufferers to live relatively normal lives. and has turned cancer from an instant death sentence to a manageable condition.

      "I don't get sick"
      Perhaps you're one of the lucky ones, or perhaps your use of quote marks over the word 'illness' is that little bit of honesty in your soul dropping a hint that you might not be telling the full story or the truth...i'm guessing the latter.

    5. WTC7

      Sure antibiotics are being over prescribed and some of the medical practitioners I spoke to say that this may become the most serious challenge to the medical science in the future as the bacteria is getting immune to them as we go.

      But I think that in the case of GMOs it's a different story at play. I think we are playing with something we still don't fully understand - the genetic makeup of life. To my knowledge, nobody has proven thus far that the GMOs are bad for human health but the thing is that nobody can guarantee with certainty what the consequences of eating such food may be down the road. Some farmers have observed that their cattle fed with GMOs loose their reproductive capability. It is a serious issue and should sound alarm, but, primarily, should call for additional research. I understand that genetically modified foods are a way to fight the world hunger (at least that's what they say) but certainly every one of us has the right to know what we are eating. Then each of us decide whether we are confident and ready to eat it.

      Personally, I am not happy with the unresolved issues surrounding the GMO food and would not eat it. At least I should have the right to choose until I am satisfied with the scientific proof about its safety is there.

    6. a_no_n

      But you're never going to be satisfied with the scientific proof because it's never going to confirm to your biases.

      What you're basicly saying is that you refuse to believe the science until it agrees with what you think.

      There have been thousands of studies on GMO's that have found the end product to be absolutely no different to the organic alternative.

      There have been studies on THOSE studies of the studies, that have all come to the same conclusions.

      Don't pretend there's any sort of respect for science behind your opinion.

      Just because you don't personally understand what's going on, that doesn't mean nobody does...that's an argument from ignorance, a logical fallacy.

      If you can provide me with one single piece of reputable evidence that suggests GMO's are bad for you, then i will revise my opinion...what will it take for you to revise yours? Because evidence certainly doesn't seem to have any effect on your opinion.

    7. jackmax

      Please show the evidence that food stuffs that have been modified with herbicides or pesticide are as health for you as the natural plant.
      I would have less concern of the modification was to enhance the yield or to make the crop more drought resistant but to modify a crop to kill insects and weeds is in no way to the benefit of the consumer of the end product

      If what you say is true why is it that 26 countries have either full or partial ban on GMO's with another approximately 60 having significant restriction.

    8. WTC7

      You are absolutely right, and my country is one of those where GMOs are banned

    9. a_no_n

      Lol wow you have no idea what the process actually involves do you?

      It isn't a case of injecting plants with pesticides as you seem to think. The plants have their DNA modfied so that they produce hormones which won't attract the bugs.

      GMOS actually REMOVES the need for pesticides in the process.

      Why have 26 counries got a full or partial ban? That's an argument from popularity, a logical fallacy. Plenty of countries have Criminal bans on homosexuality too.

      But to answer your question, because they've been lied to by either paranoid cranks, and/or people with a financial interest in keeping the status Quo.

    10. jackmax

      Bloody hell mate you have made quite a statement there about being lied to by either paranoid cranks and/or people with financial interests in keeping the status quo.

      With such a statement like that you must have evidence to back it up or is this a case of writing something with the thought that I may be gullible enough to believe it.

    11. a_no_n

      so it's ok when you do it, but when I do it you start whinging...we call that a double standard.

    12. jackmax

      no evidence just more dribble is that the best you have. great argument you have put forward.

    13. a_no_n

      since you haven't given us anything close to resembling evidence either that's a precarious glass house to start throwing stones in.

    14. jackmax

      The FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can
      create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies,
      toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.

      Since then, findings include:

      Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants

      Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies

      More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller

      Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly

      By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies

      Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity

      Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen

      Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced

      The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.

      Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

      Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical
      trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed
      that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria
      living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that
      long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us. This could mean:

      If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics

      If the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were to transfer, it
      might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.
      Although no studies have evaluated if antibiotic or Bt-toxin genes transfer, that is one of the key problems. The safety assessments are too superficial to even identify most of the potential dangers from
      Institute of Responsible Technologies

    15. a_no_n

      What you've just done there has a special name, it's called a Gish Gallop (Google it).
      the galloper drowns out his opponent in a torrent of small statements, in such a way that it is practically impossible to argue against.
      "Gotcha" arguments that are brief but take a long time to unravel (because explaining takes more time than wildly asserting).

      If you want to do this then do it properly, leave your gutter techniques in the gutter where they belong!

      You could go so far as to actually name one of these studies, or frame any of them in some way that i might be able to look them up myself so that i can address them.

    16. jackmax

      I gave you the reference where I resourced my information.

    17. a_no_n you didn't. you alluded to some studies, but you didn't give me any details, you didn't tell me who did them, or where they were done, you just rattled off your interpretation of the conclusions at me...that's not a reference of a source.

    18. jackmax

      ok you may have a point but it it still more than you have provided

    19. a_no_n

      by giving me a garbled wall of tecxt that held nothing identifiable in it? For all i know you made it all up off the top of your head (that seems to be where most of your facts come from).

    20. jackmax

      it would appear that you have nothing of substance to say and when asked to provide any type of evidence to your claims you ignore it and go on the attack of the person that has requested you provide any source for them to research them selves rather than being pro active in supplying the evidence to back your claim.

      So far it could be said that Your argument is weak and any evidence you can provide is tainted due to the fact that Monsantos (with their vested interest at stake) are the only positive reports about GMOs available.

    21. a_no_n

      I've posted a link n another comment to the best part of a thousand independent studies that found nothing wrong with GMO's. Though i guess i'm wasting my effort because you don't seem like the kind of person to go looking for information that goes against your deeply held beliefs.

      Also you haven't given me anything resembling evidence yourself so stop being a hypocrite! If you're going to whinge and whine about me not providing evidence, then at least provide some yourself, if you're going to set a standard you have to keep to it as well!

    22. mike

      I can't find your link a_no_n wth thousand independent studies

    23. jackmax

      Why have you not provided any references to anything you have written?
      Why have you not shown me the same respect I had shown you by at least giving you a start point from where I have looked to get some of my information.
      Would it be that you only have report and article that were financed and authorized by Monsanto and there for the information is not to be seen as unbiased to there cause.

    24. a_no_n

      Try practicing what you preach.

      You haven't given me ANYTHING except for the briefest possible summaries of these supposed studies of yours...Hence why in my last comment i asked you for more details.

      I'm starting to get fed up of explaining this to you, there's only so far i can dumb it down for you!

    25. jackmax

      Where in my response to you have I said injecting plants and are you telling me that they don't modify these plants?

      It would appear that your response has crumbled by your own dishonesty.

    26. a_no_n

      Yes i'm fully aware that you're being as vague as possible so that you can throw any criticisms straight back in the face of anyone who might make them, i'm choosing to cut through the tripe to get to the bones of the matter because those kinds of head games bore me.

      You said in as many words that pesticides were being modified into plants when anyone with the slightest understanding of the subject knows that a/ that isn't how genetics works, and b/ even if it was that's not what they are doing.

      The idea is to make bugs less attracted to plants by making them produce a hormone that will dissuade the pests from other cases (because GMO is more than just one single thing) it's about making the plants more hardy so that they don't need as much water or food to produce a crop.

      It always makes me laugh. you ever notice how it's only middle class white people you ever see whinging about GMO's? The only group of people who can actually afford to be picky about their food? And of cource because it offends their delicate sensibilities they've decreed that nobody should be allowed to have it just incase a scrap of it ends up on their delicate crockery.

      Meanwhile thousands of people across the world starve who could be fed by this technology...but they're only poor brown people so who cares right?

    27. jackmax

      By what you are saying it appears that you believe that GMO's are 100% safe for consumption for animals.
      If I'm wrong with that assumption please shed some light on the ones that aren't.

    28. a_no_n

      So are you for them or against them? because your stance seems to shift with each passing comment.

    29. jackmax

      how exactly has my view change?

    30. a_no_n

      it's the way you talk... it occasionally makes no sense.

    31. jackmax

      So you do believe that GMOs are 100% safe for both human and animals to consume.

    32. a_no_n

      It doesn't matter two figs what i do or don't believe...Cultists and woos talk about beliefs.

      The only data that suggests GMO's are harmful have incredibly dodgy methods and are rarely independent.

      for the vast majority there is no evidence that they are harmful.

    33. jackmax

      With a statement like that you must have evidence to back that up.
      If the truth be known it to pro GMO testing that has been tainted due to the fact that Monsanto are the one that have conducted the pro GMO studies with no independent studies to confirm or deny there results.

      I see what you have been doing by twisting the actual events around to oppose anything that may have an adverse effect on the GMO product.

    34. WTC7

      "To my knowledge, nobody has proven thus far that the GMOs are bad for human health..." is what I said in my post.

      So, I don't see why I would provide anything to you if I never claimed what you are suggesting.

      I just wish you had the necessary concentration to read the whole post before answering. Besides, me knowing nothing about the genetic modification does not give you the right to tell me that I personally should eat that stuff. I said it is my right to chose and there is nothing you can do about it, until I, as a consumer, am satisfied with the evidence about its safety provided to me, period.

    35. a_no_n

      yeah usually i can only take so much bull before my mind just switches off.

      You contradict yourself, you say you never claimed GMO's are bad for health...but then go right on ahead and assert it...what is it? you can't have it both ways.

      "until I, as a consumer, am satisfied with the evidence about its safety provided to me, period."

      I'm calling bull on that as well, there is more than enough peer reviewed evidence to show that the end result isn't in any way different be it organic or GMO. You couldn't care less about the evidence, it's disingenuous to say that you do! At least tell me what in your mind constitutes as evidence.

    36. Fabien L

      I am not against GMO labeling but you already have a right to chose. There are lots of organic growers that certify they don't use GM crops. Do they tell the truth, I have no idea. Will GMO s labeling certify there are no GMOs in the bag, I have no idea either. It looks to me like it will be extremely hard to control with so much food coming from abroad nowadays.