Presidential Candidates’ Positions
on GMOs: The Uncovered Issue

by Melissa Diane Smith, author of Going Against GMOs

2016 Candidates Positions on GMOsOf the many issues we need to consider when choosing the presidential candidate we want to vote for in both primary and general elections, an issue that gets no play in the mainstream media but one that is of increasing concern to the American public is where candidates stand on the issue of genetically modified foods, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

Ninety percent of Americans want GMOs labeled, and growing numbers of people including myself want them banned. But our presidents and elected officials keep going to bat for Monsanto and other agrichemical corporations, defying the wishes of the people, and making decisions that push more toxic Frankenfoods that we don’t want into our food supply without mandatory labeling that more than 60 other countries have. Add to that, many of those politicians eat only organic food themselves, which is the ultimate hypocrisy. The food situation we find ourselves in today—with genetically engineered foods being shoved down our throats and vital information about what we’re buying being kept from us—is intolerable, especially in this country dubbed land of the free and home of the brave. We, the people, want a food system that works for us, not a rigged food system that benefits chemical corporations, ruins our land, and harms our health.

It’s time to take our food system back! The best way to exert our consumer influence to change the foods that are grown on farms and that are offered to us in stores (as well as to protect our health right now!) is to become informed consumers and shop against GMOs on a day-to-day basis. I explain exactly how to do that in Going Against GMOs.

Unfortunately, we can’t just shop our way out of our bad food system. To create the change we wish to see in our country, we need to elect candidates who represent our views on GMOs and the type of food and agricultural system we want—people who are ethical and committed to standing up to greedy corporations and doing what’s right for the health of the American people and our land. That’s a tall order, I know! Few politicians fill the bill today given the outrageous amounts of money from big food and chemical corporations that influence (or should I say buy?) our political system.

With the presidential primary season now upon us, understand that if we elect another Monsanto-loving president and Congress, we’ll sink even further into the depths of a food system that will destroy our fertile farmland and make everyday Americans even sicker than they already are. We’re in serious need of an American food revolution. So, before you cast your vote, get to know the presidential candidates’ positions on this critically important issue to our health and well-being so you can make the most informed choice.

Where the Candidates Stand

The best rundown of candidate positions is 2016 Presidential Election Candidates: Where do they stand on GMOs? written by the We Add Up group.

According to ProCon.org, the leading source for pros and cons of controversial issues, except for Ohio Governor John Kasich, for which no position on this issue has yet been found, all other major Republican candidates for president are against GMO labeling. And, while the site lists Hillary Clinton as being in support of mandatory GMO labeling, “Clinton’s long history of being pro GMO, ties to Monsanto through close associates, and failure to grasp the simplest of truths about GM science makes her semi-sorta-kinda support for the right to know and independent science a bit of a puzzle,” wrote leading non-GMO advocate Jeffrey Smith in What Is Hillary’s Stance on GMOs?

For additional information on leading candidates’ positions, see this video: Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton – Different Sides on Monsanto & GMO Food Labeling and these articles: Tell Hillary to Dump Monsanto’s Money and Support Mandatory Labeling, My Response from Senator Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump says “Too Much Monsanto in the Corn Creates Issues in the Brain” about Iowa voters.

There is only one major 2016 presidential candidate who has spoken out and taken action in support of both mandatory GMO labeling and organic, locally produced food: Democratic candidate, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. He believes that the biotech companies are “transforming our agricultural system in a bad way” and has repeatedly spoken out in favor of the right of the people to know what is in our food. He helped pass the mandatory GMO labeling law that is set to go into effect in Vermont this summer but that the GMO giants are trying to block, and he supports family-owned and organic agriculture. (See also this article on Sanders’ endorsement of organic, local food and this article on his support of integrative and holistic healing practices.)

The 2012 Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, also supports mandatory GMO labeling and organic, locally produced food and has called for a moratorium on GMO foods, and she is exploring another run in 2016. Learn more on Dr. Stein’s stances here.

If you’re thinking right now that Barack Obama came out in favor of GMO labeling when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and that GMO labeling hasn’t happened under his administration, that’s disappointedly true. But Sen. Sanders and Dr. Stein have passionately and consistently talked the talk on this issue for years, not just in one stump speech.

Food Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport

Also keep in mind that a president can’t do everything all by himself or herself. Food democracy is not a spectator sport: We can’t sit on the sidelines and hope our president takes care of our deep-seated food problem all by himself. The way to change our food system is to elect people at all levels of government who align with our values. So, I encourage you to learn the positions of your local and state elected officials by searching on the Internet and asking questions in town halls, meetings, and debates, then cast informed votes based on what you learn. (This of course includes voting people who consistently vote for the interests of big food corporations and against food transparency out of office.) The sooner we elect more like-minded city council people, county supervisors, representatives, senators, and governors, in addition to a president, the sooner we will transform and revolutionize our local and national food systems so that they are healthy for all of us.

Keep in mind that in terms of food policy, it’s more than just GMO labeling that is on the minds of the U.S. public. Three quarters of American voters favor more sustainable farming practices, and more than ever before, Americans are concerned about what they’re eating, how it was grown, where it was grown, and by whom. We actually should be asking many more questions about the positions on food policy of people running for office—see 10 Food Policy Questions We Want Answered from the 2016 Presidential Candidates.

Believe it or not, countries such as Bhutan and Denmark are well on their way to becoming 100% organic countries. That should make all of us ask the question: Why can’t the United States of America do the same, or at least begin the process of improving our food and agriculture system by encouraging and supporting local, organic food production and enacting mandatory GMO labeling of foods like other countries have? The answer is we can. We just have to believe we can, cast the right votes, and start getting the right people in office to protect our interests and help transition our current toxic corporate-driven food system into the health-promoting food system we want and deserve.

Copyright 2016 Melissa Diane Smith

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