Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

The Enemy Speaks – Labeling of Biotech Foods is Unnecessary and Unconstitutional

One of our affiliates, and a great partner in the fight for sustainable food, is the Organic Consumer’s Association.

Last week they shared this article, originally from Forbes, on why labeling genetically modified and other biotech foods is a bad idea.

If you’re a regular visitor here, we’re sure you’ll disagree as vehemently as we do on this important issue. But it’s always good to know what the enemy is up to, how they frame their arguments, and how their worldview differs from your own.

In that spirit, enjoy debating and rebutting this inflammatory screed by Mr. Miller, our new favorite shill for Monsanto, et. al!

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

There are good reasons that such “tinkering at the DNA level” need not be revealed on labels.  Federal regulation requires that food labels be truthful and not misleading and prohibits label statements that could be misunderstood, even if they are strictly accurate.  For example, although a “cholesterol-free” label on a certain variety or batch of fresh spinach would be accurate, it transgresses the FDA’s rules because it could be interpreted as implying that spinach usually contains cholesterol, which it does not.

Following long-standing precedents in food regulation, the FDA requires labeling only to indicate that a new food raises questions of safety, nutrition or proper usage.  But instead of educating or serving a legitimate consumers’ “need to know” certain information, mandatory labels on gene-spliced food would imply a warning. The FDA’s approach to labeling has been upheld both directly and indirectly by various federal court decisions that have consistently struck down mandatory labeling not supported by data.  In the early 1990s, a group of Wisconsin consumers sued the FDA, arguing that the agency’s decision not to require the labeling of dairy products from cows treated with a gene-spliced protein called bovine somatotropin, or bST, allowed those products to be labeled in a false and misleading manner.  (In other words, the plaintiffs wanted the same sort of mandatory labeling advocated by Maisto.)  However, because the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate any material difference between milk from treated and untreated cows the federal court agreed with the FDA, finding that “it would be misbranding to label the product as different, even if consumers misperceived the product as different.” >>> Read the Full Article If you’re more interested in learning about what we here at Chelsea Green think about the issue, peruse our selection of books by Jeffrey Smith, including Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating. You might also enjoy the documentary, The World According to Monsanto. And if you’re keen on getting into the green counter revolution yourself, check out our perennial best seller, Seed to Seed:Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners! …Pun intended.


Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start. Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

5 Creative Summer Drinks to Help You Cool Off

Now that we’re in the “dog days” of summer, the heat can feel a little unrelenting. There’s no better way to cool off than with a refreshing, cold beverage – especially when that beverage is made with local, organic ingredients and can give you an added health boost! While our experienced foragers and nutrition experts […] Read More..

Beat the Heat and Be Good to Your Gut: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes

Recent research has shown that the trillions of microbes living in our gut, also known as our microbiome, can affect both our brain function and our mood and can be linked to a number of disorders ranging from allergies and asthma to autism, ADD, depression, and more. What we ingest can either help or hurt […] Read More..

Inside the Rise of the Local Grains Movement

Our daily bread. Breaking bread together. Bread and butter. These are all common phrases that reflect bread’s foundational role in our diet and in the building of our civilization. The stored energy of grain first allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to building settled communities—even great cities. So why in an […] Read More..