The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is currently collecting signatures on a letter to be delivered to First Lady Michelle Obama, asking her to add GMO labelling to the FDA’s list of proposed changes to food labels, which she helped to announce and intertwined with her Let’s Move! campaign.
Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign states that its aim is “to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.” The campaign is centered around making nutrition and exercise a priority for children, and ending childhood obesity. A slogan prominently displayed on its website states: “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
As we reported in more detail in a previous article, some of the proposed changes to the FDA’s labeling – which has not been updated in two decades – are positive. If approved, the labels will designate the amount of added sugars that are contained in a product, and will also display the amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin D that a product contains. Serving sizes will be altered to be more representative of how much of a particular product is normally eaten. If approved, food manufacturers will have two years to implement the new labels.
In their petition, the OCA states that Mrs. Obama’s commitment to the health of children should include a commitment to the clear labeling of GMO ingredients, which typically involve the spraying of a monumental amount of chemical compounds, and have been found to have potential health risks, especially for young people. The OCA also points out that President Obama had said he would support the labelling of GMOs back in 2007, and has so far not acted.
The organization points out that GMO ingredients have been linked to obesity. Specifically, they mention a 2012 Nordic study in which fish, mice, pigs and rats eating a diet of GMO grains were compared to the same animals not eating GMO-based diets. Regarding the results, one of the researchers, Professor Ashlid Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, says, “the ones who had fed on GM corn were slightly larger, they ate slightly more, their intestines had a different micro-structure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were some changes to their immune system.”
The publication Childhood Obesity News implicates GMO corn as possibly contributing to the addictive nature of high fructose corn syrup, and mentions that GMO soy could contribute to the rising instances of food allergies in children, including life-threatening peanut allergies, as soy has a protein that can trigger allergies to peanuts, as well.
Part of the OCA’s letter to Michelle Obama states, “aside from GMO foods themselves, GMO crops are grown using a stunning array of toxic herbicides and pesticides. Those toxins are destroying the soil, the air we breathe and the water we drink. More critically, they remain on the GMO foods we feed our kids – and as scientists warn, these toxic chemicals pose a great threat to young, not-yet-developed immune systems.”
The focus of the Lets Move! campaign on the health of young people is a step in the right direction if it starts to see success in its mission objectives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see GMO labelling as part of this initiative?
– The Alternative Daily