Top 20 Stories of 2013 – No. 10: Landmark Decisions on GMOs Ahead

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
December 23, 2013 Updated: December 23, 2013

As part of our comprehensive year-end coverage, Epoch Times editors have made a selection of stories that we believe are significantly changing the world. The stories are ranked from No. 20, having the least impact, to No. 1—our top pick. 

Each story is based on a major news story of 2013 that will have lasting impact into 2014 and beyond. Check back daily as we countdown to Jan. 1st and our New Year.

The world is teetering on the edge of what is likely an irreversible spread of genetically modified organisms’ (GMOs) global entrenchment.

Strongholds against GMOs, such as Europe and Africa, showed signs of weakening in 2013. But, anti-GMO forces have certainly not evaporated. 

In May, about 2 million protesters in 52 countries took part in the March Against Monsanto. Monsanto is a major GMO producer. The March Against Monsanto campaign began in February and it calls for another international day of action on May 24, 2014.

GMO Labeling in the US

Maine and Connecticut passed bills mandating GMO labeling, but the laws will not go into effect until neighboring states pass similar laws. 

A vote on labeling failed by a narrow margin in Washington state in November: 48.9 percent voted for labeling; 51 percent voted against; 45 percent of registered voters participated in the vote. A similar vote failed by nearly the same margin last year in California, but proponents in California plan to come back with another ballot initiative in 2014. 

The push for labeling is forging ahead in 20 states, with the Grocery Manufacturers Association running a counter-campaign in 25 states. 

Seeds in Africa

Monsanto and other GMO producers, such as DuPont, have stepped up their efforts to penetrate the hitherto reluctant African market. 

DuPont bought a majority stake in South Africa’s largest seed company, Pannar, in July. U.S.-supported GMO promotional campaigns educated African journalists and farmer’s associations on the benefits of GMOs. 

The cracks in Africa’s anti-GMO stance may continue to spread and widen in 2014.

EU Opening 

Europe will also have to reconsider its GMO regulations in October 2014 when a freeze on the GMO approvals process ends along with the European Commission mandate. The commission’s increasing support for GMOs has strained relations with anti-GMO EU nations. 

U.S.–EU free trade negotiations expected to wrap up late 2014 may also influence the EU’s stance.