Labelling GM Food
by Zoe.Papadatos on November 6, 2013 - 12:16pm
Like everything else in this world, there are pros and cons of genetically modified food. In the pros, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can offer solutions to feeding our increasing population with food that is nutritious and economical. However, due to its sketchy history, consumers are worried about the safety of their food. Thus, labelling genetically modified food has become an important issue. Consumers argue that they have a right to know what they are putting in their mouths. However, Monsanto, a major food corporation that manufactures and sells genetically modified organisms, is determined to keep their products unlabeled. Do consumers have the right to be worried if a large corporation is trying to hide their labels?
According to a peer-reviewed online article, despite high public opinion to label GM food, there are only a handful of states that has passed a labelling law. The federal government doesn’t support the labelling of GM food labels. They argue that GMOs and conventional food products are “substantially equivalent”. In other words, labels are not necessary since GMOs and other food products are practically the same thing. Furthermore, the Food and Drugs Association (FDA) also does not embrace GM food labelling. Although the FDA should be in charge of forcing corporations to label food products, the debate has become an issue of the federal government. According to an online article, the federal government’s decision to make putting a stamp on GM food unrequired displays the immense influence corporations have on the government. After the government refused to pass the law, the senator who introduced this law, Bernie Sanders, introduced the bill to Vermont. However, Monsanto threatened to sue the state if the bill passed. Thus, Bernie Sanders’ effort to label GM food was crushed. On a related note, 572 million dollars was spent on campaign contributions and lobbying in the past 10 years by the largest food and agriculture biotechnology firms and trade associations, according to a report published in November of 2010 by Food and Water Watch. Recent polls conducted by MSNBC and Thompson Reuters found that between 93 and 96 percent of the American public believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled. Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with the Consumers Union says: "GMO labels are a risk management measure to deal with any scientific uncertainty. Labelling is the only way to track unintended effects. How can you know what you are allergic to if you do not know you are eating GMO's?"