With the evolution of the agricultural market expanding on a commercial level, some organizations like Monsanto have dominated the market for the last century with their genetically modified foods. There has been a tremendous movement in America, which has been growing over the past few decades, against the creation and marketing of genetically modified foods. This has been evident in countless books, scientific studies and even documentaries, so much to the point that private organizations like the Non-GMO Project have emerged and began to make waves in the fight against these foods.
In 2005, in response to concerned customer letters pertaining to the dangers of genetically modified foods, The National Grocery Company and the Big Carrot Natural Food Market joined forces and formed the Non-GMO Project. Their mission was to create a standard meaning of the term non-GMO for the North American food industry. Since then, the Non-GMO Project, through their connection with Global ID Group, the world’s leaders in non-GMO testing, has been working relentlessly to properly credit organizations that create and distribute foods that are free of genetically modified organisms.
In 2007, this non-profit organization expanded its Board of Directors to include independent representatives invested in the natural products industry, including farmers, manufacturers, retailers and even consumers. In an effort to welcome as many perspectives as possible, the Board formed advisory boards to handle technical and policy issues. Their rigorous testing and numerous product verifications has given the Non-GMO Project the opportunity to make tremendous waves in the food market.
Since the government has yet to nationally mandate the labeling of products that contain GMO’s, private entities, with the support of the Non-GMO Project, have taken it upon themselves to pressure Congress to begin doing so in many states across the nation. In 2012, on the Nov. 6 ballot in California, nearly half of all voters voted in favor of mandatory GMO labeling in the initiative formerly known as Proposition 37. Despite their attempts to simply label GMO foods and not necessarily ban them, the bill was defeated. Nonetheless, this sparked a fuse that spread to Colorado when they added Proposition 105 to their 2014 statewide ballot, which was also defeated.
This baffled consumers across the nation who tried to understand why organizations did not want their GMO-containing products to be labeled for the public to see. The labeling of GMO foods may be similar to the fight to label cigarettes with health warnings, in the sense that it may be the next big movement against major organizations disclosing more information about their products. Despite the failure of Oregon’s recent labeling attempt known as Measure 92, some GMO labeling laws have already gone into effect in Connecticut and Maine, with Vermont becoming the first state to officially pass a GMO labeling bill without any trigger clause.
Some believe that it is only a matter of time before GMO labeling is officially mandated across the nation. Due to the Non-GMO Project’s rapid success, they have made waves in the food industry that have caused certain mega-farms like Monsanto to hemorrhage millions of dollars and possibly no longer dominate the market in the near future.
Opinion by Robert Masucci