GMO Labeling: The Pros and Cons

Since our blog last week on GMO foods was so popular, we thought we’d take it a step further and talk about the proposed labeling of products on store shelves that contain GMO ingredients.

It won’t come as a surprise that supporters of GMO practices aren’t too keen on any regulations that require products to point out if there are GMO ingredients in them. Many manufacturers aren’t either, seeing as how they will have to pay to redesign labels for any and all of their products that contain these ingredients that some call “tainted”.

As a food manufacturer, we find it bemusing that one of the arguments against GMO labeling is cost, when there hasn’t been quite the same level of furor about the FDA gluten-free labeling standard that goes into effect in August of 2014. Our products are already labeled as gluten free, which we proudly state, as we know many of our loyal customers who have allergies can safely eat our products. In fact, its one of the reasons we make our products like we do.

Perhaps because people assume that GMO foods don’t cause allergic reactions the way that a product with gluten or nuts, for example, would, there is a pushback against labeling. But that’s sadly not true. The problem with GMO foods is that they could bring a gene from a peanut into another crop that would then cause an allergic reaction for someone with peanut allergies. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration DOES require those types of GMO foods to be labeled.

An article in Scientific American, who argues stridently against GMO labeling, almost defeats its own argument when it reports: “Many people argue for GMO labels in the name of increased consumer choice. On the contrary, such labels have limited people’s options. In 1997, a time of growing opposition to GMOs in Europe, the E.U. began to require them. By 1999, to avoid labels that might drive customers away, most major European retailers had removed genetically modified ingredients from products bearing their brand. Major food producers such as Nestlé followed suit. Today it is virtually impossible to find GMOs in European supermarkets.”

That’s exactly what those who feel that GMO foods are detrimental to our food supply would love to see. Plus, isn’t that consumer choice in action—and working? There are those that argue that most Americans aren’t against GMOs, so the European example wouldn’t work the same here, and all it would change is the labels.

And in this article, many blast the Scientific American article for several inaccuracies and that it “reads like the biotech industry handed Scientific American its talking points,” according to public health lawyer Michelle Simon.

What do you think? Do you think GMO labeling will prejudice consumers further against this engineered food? Or do you feel that the public has a right to know what’s going in their food? Do you think that the arguments for cost, including that requiring the labels will increase consumers’ food bills, is a red herring, or valid? We’d love to hear what you think on this important issue!

And don’t forget: None of Go Raw’s products contain GMO ingredients, nor will they ever. They are also kosher, gluten-, soy- and nut-free, totally vegan and organic, and full of living goodness.



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