The Fight for GMO Labeling

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week, USA Today reported a big push to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food. Over 300 companies and organizations have filed a petition with the FDA requiring transparency of whether food has been bio-engineered. Among the coalition lie key players, such as Dannon SA and Dean Foods Co. These companies, led by the Center for Food Safety in Washington, want to change a 1992 FDA policy that does not require distinctions on food labels.

"Polls show a vast majority of Americans say they don't want to eat genetically engineered foods" according to Gary Hirshberg, chief executive officer of Londonderry, New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm.  As a nation we are beginning to make food choices that go beyond satisfying cravings. With food related health diseases on the rise, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, there is a growing number of people reading labels and wanting to make educated choices. Some would argue that consumers are not being given the opportunity to make an accurate choice. An absence of law requiring the labeling of genetically re-engineered products may be leaving the consumer in the dark. About 60% of processed food contain genetically modified ingredients and certain whole foods such as papaya, are also not spared from the process.

This push comes with great resistance from biotech companies. They believe due diligence has been done. Further they argue that no health issues are tied to genetically engineered food. "Unless the scientists have stopped being scientific, this will be rejected" CEO of Biotechnology Industry Organization, Jim Greenwood, told USA today. Monsanto Co, a grower of genetically modified soy and corn seeds, propagates that G.E. derived foods are safe. The FDA agrees along with 59 countries.

However, even if the view overseas, that genetically modified foods are almost equivalent to their non-altered counterparts, they still recognize the importance of labeling. When food has been altered on a molecular level; Europe, Russia, parts of Asia, Brazil and Australia are providing their consumers with the data.

Whether the concerns regarding GMO food are legitimate or not, basic democracy implies that people have the right to make choices. Giving consumers access to all the facts, and not just what some decision makers deem critical. Whatever your take on GE Foods, the legal action taken on behalf of 'Just Label It', will empower you to make choices that you deserve to make. For further information, visit:

Photo: mar is sea Y

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