Should Genetically Modified Foods be Labeled?

| 2/1/2010 9:58:12 AM

Tags: Genetic modification, label laws, question to readers,

GMO ApplesIn a recent online survey, we asked you how you felt about foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Should they carry a warning label, so consumers can avoid them if they wish?

Here’s what our online community thought:  

Do you feel that genetically modified foods should be labeled as such?

1. Yes. The jury is still out on whether or not they’re safe, and I have a right to know. 457 votes (94 percent)

2. No. There's no health risk involved with GMOs, and a label would create the impression that there is. 27 votes (6 percent)

The message looks pretty clear: Consumers want total transparency when it comes to their food, and they should! Yet, according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, genetically modified ingredients are found in many everyday, unlabeled items, such as infant formula, salad dressing, bread, cereal, crackers, cookies, peanut butter and much more.

2/17/2010 12:07:23 AM

I beleive that not only should we know about GMO produce for human consumtion.Ask any teacher today they are seeing more health problems like ADD, children with more alergys,childhood diabetis, and so on.I beleive this magazine and a few other natrual living mags have had so many articals about how food has changed sence the early 1900's one said that as food got alterted the nutritional value went down and the sugars in them went up.One heirloom seed company stated in one of there articals that a farmer couldn't figure out why his chickens wheren't eating thier feed.So he sent out the food to be analized and found that not only was it a geneticly altered food but that the round up that was sprayed to supress the weeds from growing so that the farmers could get greater yeilds was going into the food and a chemical with some numbers like 246 and a big chemical name I couldn't prononce was found in the bird food. This chemical had been linked to slowing brain development and other birth defects. this farmer has gone back to feeding his birds what the old timers used to corn, sorgum,flaxseed and other natural things. I think I will side with the bird No GMO's for me please or chemicals for that matter.

rebecca cribb
2/8/2010 1:58:56 PM

PLEEEEAAAASSSEEE LABEL GMO FOODS! Everyone has the right to know and control what they put in their bodies!

rebecca cribb
2/8/2010 1:58:21 PM

PLEEEEAAAASSSEEE LABEL GMO FOODS! Everyone has the right to know and control what they put in their bodies!

rebecca cribb
2/8/2010 1:55:45 PM

PLEEEEAAAASSSEEE LABEL GMO FOODS! Everyone has the right to know and control what they put in their bodies!

2/8/2010 10:29:39 AM

It's not nice (or necessary) to fool Mother Nature. If GMO foods are safe, why the resistance to truthful labeling by those doing the manipulation? In my opinion, the actions of Monsanto are self-serving and border on being downright evil.

2/6/2010 3:37:42 PM

Just like other chemically created foods, everything should be labeled. Not necessarily because it is harmful, but because some people could be allergic or sensitive to certain items. I would have to say, though, that I am for the labeling of GMOs. They are too new to our technology to see what kind of results or side effects they can create. Every one should have the choice to decide for themselves, not allow the government to choose for us. That is unfair, and not constitutional. This country was built on the right to choose and that covers everything, not just religion or the right to bear arms.

doyle morris
2/5/2010 10:23:17 AM

Could it be possible that GMO plants are the cause of honey bee colony collapse disease?

2/5/2010 6:42:26 AM

Monsanto and others have lots of high paid lawyers that skew the law. a farmer that has a crop that is infected by gmo pollen has every right to sue for damages even though they "don't own the patten" on the crop they grow if they own the property the plants are grown on,then that farmers property rights have been violated, and this needs to be one of the fronts to attack the gmo industry on. Gmo's are not hybrids as some claim they are manipulated on a level that will not occur in nature and are indeed a pandoras box and this type of tinkering needs to be stopped completely. The whole world can be fed quite adequately and be 100% organic the idea that it can't is a LIE but what needs to happen is a return to smaller farms and an end to corporate farming that is driven by profit alone. We can make these farms disappear by attacking their profits thru boycotts, lawsuits and the spreading of information and we need to demand that OUR government stops protecting large farms at the expense of small farms and our health.

2/4/2010 3:54:36 PM

I agree that food products should be labeled if they are GMOs. I want to be able to make an informed decision about what I put into my body. I would guess that most people would say that they would at least like to know, whether or not it changed their behavior. Jade~ Have you considered trying a menstrual cup as an alternative to tampons? Even all natural tampons end up "sucking up" your natural moisture and fill up land fills just like toxic tampons. It seems like a drastic change to make, but once you make it they're way more convenient than tampons. One should last around 10 or more years and if you're prone to headaches and cramping they help lessen the occurance (since they don't wick moisture). I would suggest every woman who uses tampons try one at least once in their life. It's amazing the difference it can make in your life and to the environment.

2/4/2010 3:03:04 PM

-Intellectual Capital: Today, seed ‘manufacturers’ can patent any genetic modifications they make to their seeds. In essence, they can patent life. As we all know, when life is involved you never know what is going to happen. Take for instance, a certain vendors herbicide ready soy beans. If your neighbor happens to plant these beans, and his beans happen to cross pollinate your non-vendor beans, can you be charged with stealing the vendor’s intellectual capital because your beans took advantage of this? What if you save the some of your previous harvest’s seeds, as many farmers (including my own family) do? Right now, if the ‘bean police’ find any of the vendor’s engineered genetics in your beans they can sue you. Even if it was caused by their wanton spread of GMO pollen. The farmer can’t easily sue them back for polluting his non-GMO feedstock because the farmer doesn’t own a patent on the traditional seeds.

2/4/2010 1:56:02 PM

Tell me this...just who thinks Monsanto's Roundup-Ready Soybeans aren't a genetic modification? Remember the corn that was developed years ago which ended up making many people sick???

2/4/2010 11:36:38 AM

Take care not to confuse cross-breeding with genetic engineering that involves moving DNA from one species into another. They are two very different processes. As stated by the Union of Concerned Scientists, ”Genetic engineering routinely moves proteins into the food supply from organisms that have never been consumed as foods.” With “pharma crops,” scientists are altering rice to produce human proteins such as insulin. For better ethanol production, they’re altering corn with proteins from something found deep in the sea that can’t be classified as either plant or animal (not kidding: the organism required a completely new classification, called “Archaea.”) Now that’s not what I would call an everyday natural occurrence. While it is true that genes (and entire organelles at times) do get transferred among unrelated organisms occasionally in nature, it is not the same as taking bacterial herbicide resistance genes and plugging them into every plant crop out there. Crop improvement practices such as plant hybridization and selective breeding don’t lead to herbicide-resistant weeds, hidden allergens, antibiotic resistance and other health and environmental concerns. These characteristics might occur extremely rarely with random mutation in an individual plant, however having that mutant gene get incorporated into subsequent generations and propagated widely is very unlikely. To a large extent, it is a game of odds. GMO makes super weeds a given, where selection offers checks and balances to the spread of mutations. We have a lot to learn before we can say with certainty that genetically engineered crops are safe – and when it is the blind desire of public corporations to make money that is pushing the current GMO movement, most checks and balances have been cast aside. Alison Rogers and Oscar H. Will III

2/4/2010 10:59:58 AM

I am not so much worried about the eating of GMOs as I am the research and intellectual capital issues. For instance: - Research: Are there any real controls on the research that would prevent unwanted traits from escaping from the lab into the real world? I'm thinking specifically of the recent case of the soil bacteria that were engineered to secrete a form of alcohol and just happened to 'escape' from the lab. This just happened to be a very common form of bacteria that inhabits all of Earth's soil. It also is a species of 'wild' bacteria that would have readily accepted the new genetic code from the lab version. It was found that the genetic changes would cause this very common bacteria to kill secrete enough alcohol to kill nearby plants. Given that the bacteria are everywhere, in every soil, this could have caused a collapse of our entire ecosystem over time. Lesson learned - we need to be careful with what we build with the genetic building blocks at our disposal.

martha l_1
2/4/2010 8:49:56 AM

Give me a break. Mother Nature performs genetic modification all on her own....anytime you have differing strains of the same crop sown side-by-side you will end up with modifications of some sort or another. Most of what happens now is that in the lab they study how to enhance the beneficials aspects of various strains rather than leave it up to random chance. The resulting plant is no less natural for having been "engineered". If there is an already-existing strain that withstands insect attack better than others, it doesn't mean that crossing that characteristic to other strains makes them pesticides. All this hoopla sounds like junk science similar to the UN's global warming "science". I'm all for eating organic and growing your own food. I have a garden that feeds me and my family. However, that simply isn't possible for everyone. If genetic modification increases yield (because of increased yield or increased resistance to disease and insects) the world's hungry should rejoice.

t brandt
2/4/2010 5:54:16 AM

I dislike the spread of disinformation, so consider this: GMO has increased the yield of corn in Africa & SE Asia by 30%. And bees are an invasive species in N. Am. Except for honey production for us, they wouldn't be missed by Mother Nature if they were eliminated. Native pollinators would increase back to their natural numbers. There are no crops absolutely dependent on honey bees. Most crops are wind pollinated. (I'm not advocating their demise, just straightening out the myth spread by the Greenies.)

allison day bees action network_2
2/4/2010 3:21:30 AM

We are pleased that you have opened this discussion on GM. Neonicotinoid pesticides are having a very drastic effect on bee numbers, and this may be the tip of a very large chemical iceberg. Many European countries have banned them. GM crops use more, not less pesticides. We ask, with all the technical know-how that goes into the production of these chemicals - why this know-how cannot be directed towards protecting the environment instead of protecting GM companies bank balances. If bees, and other pollinators die out we will be in dire trouble.

2/4/2010 1:59:59 AM First watch that. Then go rent Food Inc.Then after that watch The world According To Monsanto. It's on . Search the internet for Jeffrey Smith. Watch his lectures and go check out his book Seeds Of Deception at the library, or buy it. Do you like the sound of having a pesticide factory in your digestive system? That is what happens when the bacterium genes from GMO food mutate with the bacteria in your own intestines. Eventually mutating the bacteria in your intestines resistant to pesticides. Listen to Jeffrey Smith's lectures. I did. For days and days I listened and listened again. Trying to wrap my brain around this insanity. After you have researched the facts,you'll see the truth for what it is. If your not angry, then you simply not paying attention. Demand labeling by your representatives. Go to to help you shop for NON GMO products. Avoid corn products, i.e. high fructose corn syrup(unless organic) Canola oil - other wise known as rape seed Soybean products - unless organic Cotton/cotton seed OIL - 88% of cotton grown in America is Genetically engineered to withstand being sprayed, hence why GM cotton/GMfoods are sprayed MORE than Non Gmo crops. Sugar Beets - you'll find this GMO in the form of BEET SUGAR. Buy organic cane or other sugar not derived from beets. Crook neck squash - You can identify Genetically Modified produce by the PLU number beginning with 8.

ann wood
2/4/2010 1:32:43 AM

despite the advertising and fluff, GMO does not increase crop yield. GMO actually increases pesticides within the good and is causing famers to need to use ab out 30% more pesticide on top of that than non-GMO seed. it's causing super weeds to emerge. there are many sources to add good studies to what I've just said. Europe has banned most of GMO. it does not work. it is not cost effective. it does not produce more food per acre. it is not dissoved in the digestive process. it cannot be recalled.

russell meyers
2/4/2010 12:25:53 AM

In truth, genetic modification of food has been going on for millenia. Grafting, selective breeding, controlled cross-pollination, hybridization and such are really genetic modifications without a needle and microscope. Laboratory modification is more controlled and predictable than what is done in the field. The concerns I have are: Genetic modifications of animals or mixing of animal and plant genetics (rare). Cross-breeding plants by any means to completely eliminate seed production. This is a growing trend among commercial growers which is rather short-sighted. One good drought can do in an entire area, if not country. Without seeds, how do you start producing crops again after a disaster? I have no doubt that modification can bring about many positives, such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and increased nutritional value. However, yes, modified foods should be identified as such. Perhaps by certain initials after the name. This should include any modified foods, including hybrids.

2/4/2010 12:13:01 AM This video link above reveals what women around the world think about GMO's. I suggest going to for a little insight on how to avoid Genetically Engineered Organisms in your food. The bt (GM)cotton is even in women's tampons. This is ludicrous, and unacceptable. Sheep and buffalo are DIEING in India from grazing on bt cotton plants. They are DIEING from eating this plant after the cotton has been harvested. And we use this cotton from this plant for so many things, including woman's tampons. This bt(GM)cotton is engineered to produce it's own toxins. The toxin that the bt cotton produces is thousands of times stronger than what is present on a NON bt cotton plant that was sprayed. I suggest going to . You can get Organic Non GMO All Cotton tampons there. You can find cheap deals for them on amazon and ebay, along with many other sites. Just google it.The only thing to watch out for I'm hearing is that you need to make sure you select the correct tampon, i.e. with applicator or with no applicator.So make sure your selecting the right one. Just Say No To GMO's! Peace =)

rick eells
2/3/2010 10:43:37 PM

Your darn wright we should be told weather or not it has been modified. There is a good magazine from Rare Seed that keeps track of everything that is going on.

2/3/2010 10:34:42 PM

Food should be labled if it is gentically modified. We all should be able to make the choice whether we want to eat GMO's or not and if we want to support such practices. By not labeling this takes our choice away. I enjoy the farmers market in the summer, and I want to buy land so I can have a big garden but at this point I still rely on the grocery store. I think its our right to know what we are purchasing.

dave shaffer
2/3/2010 7:53:13 PM

I say use part of that lawn you have and grow some of the vegetables you like on the table and can and freeze your own. You will be very surprised how good they are and you don't have to worry about that bull crap this government allows these corporate farmers to poison us with. I have been growing the best vegetables and there very close to free. My garden is 15'x15', My pickles are the best!!

cherry payne_3
2/3/2010 7:38:53 PM

The one thing I want to add: whether it is good or bad is a moot point. The simple fact is you should know everything about what you eat and you make the choice to avoid or eat that food. What is good or bad changes with the political agendas or the most recent scare tactics but I say how can we "Let the buyer Beware," when people try to hide the facts about what they sell. I have a right to know where it comes from, how it is prepared, and how it is shipped and then it is my right as a consumer to make that choice. The same argument applies to truth in labeling. If anything separates one product from another it should be required to be on the label, and if competitors don't like it then they know they are guilty of wrong-doing and don't want to pay the price for that choice. Example is the argument over milk labels like "No rBST added" I should have that information if that is important to me. The companies wanting that removed know that that information helps consumers make their choice of which milk to buy. Such cowards they are who are afraid to compete head to head.

2/3/2010 7:16:58 PM

I believe we should know more about GMO's before we begin using them, however I also remember that your magazine and Organic Gardening were strong proponents of this technology back in the 70's. It would be a good counterpoint to write an article that supports this technology with the usual precautions that need to be followed. I remember that we were pretty blase about the idea and certain writers in this genre were touting the idea as a panacea for all that ailed society. It was thought to be organic in its process, but some nut cases have taken hold of an idea that my be practical and have polarized the issue so much that the process of logical and practical discussion may have been jeopardized. Let's look at this as an opportunity for good first and work towards a calm and practical solution first without inspiring zealots to damage the good worth of common sense and real solutions. Paul James Ordway

steve specht
2/3/2010 6:48:12 PM

There are 6.7 billion people now. There will be 9B in 2025. 12B in 2050. How are we going to feed all these people? I hate it too but to up the food grown per acre numbers we are going to have to have GMO's to do it.

2/3/2010 6:13:45 PM

Consumers definitely have the right to know what they are consuming and to support or not support products as per their beliefs and conscience. The pocketbook is more powerful than the voting booth and those who don't want GMO labeling know this.

2/3/2010 5:39:16 PM

Back in the mid 80's the government passed the Hazard Communication Law, or the Right to Know law as it was otherwise known as. It was a HUGE undertaking and required that manufacturers, distributors and importers disclose the potential chemical hazards workers might have with their products and what to do in the event of an emergency. It also required Material Safety Date Sheets be available, chemical inventories had to be done, and orientations about all this to workforces across this country. Please, someone tell me how GMO's have gotten into our food supply and into products that we knowingly ingest without any responsibility in labeling them as such??? Is our food any less important than the "potential" exposure to chemicals at our jobs? Where is the federal government now??? Apparently too busy looking the other way.

2/3/2010 4:45:00 PM

Labelling might have made a difference years ago, but now it is too late. I am allergic to corn and soy so I have unique knowledge about GMOs in our food supply. There is no reason to label them if you just understand that if it has a label in America, the chances that it doesn't contain GMOs are minuscule. I don't buy packaged foods, but only organic meat and produce and still cannot avoid GMOs. GMO bacterial sprays are allowed on organic meat and organic produce. Consider this: All meat processed in this country to be exported to the EU is sprayed only with hot water since they don't allow GMOs. This results in a reduction of e.coli prevalance by 81%. All meat destined for our consumption (including expensive organic, pasture raised meat) must be sprayed with a lactic acid solutuion (GMO corn derived antibacterial). This results in a reduction of e.coli prevalance by 35%. Does that make any sense? Is there any doubt that our food is contanimated with GMOs because of political corruption? At this point, the only way to avoid ingesting GMOs in the United States is to grow and process your own food from heirloom seeds and heritage livestock or make friends with someone who does. If you don't want to eat GMOs, don't buy anything with a label. It's as simple as that. Read about the dangers of GMOs:

2/3/2010 3:57:02 PM

I absolutely agree that GMO foods should be labeled. I believe going organic and having a wide variety of foods from which to choose, especially those that have been nearly wiped out from the excesses of our mono-cultured society, is the best method of changing the way we eat and grow our food. We ARE changing the face of the food crisis by taking steps as individuals and pressing our representatives in the government to make positive changes based on reality, NOT changes based on which lobbying group pays more. GO LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE, AND ORGANIC. Big corporations only respond to money, so we make sure every day that our money is being spent on the things we truly believe in and want to further for generations to come.

2/3/2010 3:53:14 PM

If the processed food that you eat has any corn or soy in any form...which would be 99.9% processed food...then you are eating GMO. Look at that can of soda that you drink. High Fructose Corn Syrup...yep GMO. The are hundreds of links on the Internet where you can get educated on GMOs and what is in the food that our kids are eating. If you want to slowly make some food choice changes, try to buy organic or locally grown food whenever possible. If there is a Trader Joe's in your area, they are adding more and more organic labeled foods every day at a very reasonable price. When consumers start voting with their pocket book, the food manufactures will start changing the harmful ingredients that they are putting in our food.

2/3/2010 3:29:12 PM

Is 94% enough for 'representatives' to stop representing those who pay for their campaigns? GenMod 'foods' aren't labeled BECAUSE so many wouldn't buy them. And so many are opposed because many have seen the poor production rates, heavy use of (Monsanto) pesticides, and high costs to farmers of these boondoggles. But Monsanto sues farmers because GenMod pollen crosses their boundaries. Private property is in the first person plural-- OUR property, YOU are stealing our pollen, we aren't trespassing. That happened to Percy Schmeiser, and he's fighting back and backing organic! Your turn-- learn and condemn the parasites who back GenMod crap.

2/3/2010 2:40:51 PM

To Tom Parr; I agree, I don't want to eat pesticides if I can avoid it. GMO's don't eliminate pesticides, though. They turn the plant itself into the pesticide, and it doesn't even work very well. It kills beneficial insects, it kills/harms the birds that eat the bugs that ate the plant. And in a season or two, the pest insects have built up a tolerance to it, so more pesticides need to be used anyway. Genes from a soil bacteria that naturally produces a toxin that kills bugs is inserted into the DNA of a crop plant. The plant, if all goes to plan, now produces that toxin within all it's tissues, including the parts we eat. I don't see how that's any better. I'd prefer fewer pesticides on my food, but I can try to wash some of them off. I can't do that if the food itself is toxic.

2/3/2010 2:33:08 PM

Please don't use GMOs. At least label them.

2/3/2010 2:31:55 PM

This year I am tossing out all my seeds and starting over with heirloom varieties from non-gmo suppliers. Monsanto OWNS the politicians who are supposed to regulate our agriculture and food, so they can do whatever they want. UNLESS we do what Europe did; SPEAK UP! Gmo's are illegal there, because that's what the people wanted and fought for. I'm not saying we should burn the fields of gmo crops, but if we refuse to buy any gmo products, the growers, processors, and manufacturers will have no choice but stop using us as lab rats. Japan is waiting and watching how gmo's affect our children before deciding whether to allow them. LAB RATS! Us, our children, heck even our pets and livestock. I don't like it, how 'bout you?

tom parr_1
2/3/2010 2:23:06 PM

I would far sooner be eating genetically modified foods than those lace with pesticides and insecticides. I might add, food would be much more expensive due to reduced crops and beyond the reach of the lower earning masses of humanity to eat right.....which is by the way a problem even now. As to vicki speals' comments about playing with nature. I would invite her to read up on "test tube babies"

i am the paterfamilias
2/3/2010 1:23:23 PM

yeah wishes! persons use, grammer and speelling correct too...)also? punctuation(

ed burns_2
2/3/2010 1:21:05 PM

GMO's should not be allowed to be sold until... or I should say, "If and when" proper testing proves they are safe. They were and still are being developed and marketed by Monsanto Chemical Corp. The same company that develops and sells all those pesticides, and herbicides that have poisoned or farmland, rivers and surrounding oceansides! They have created disaster all around the world with their GMO seeds... just Google: Genetically modified food controversies.

2/3/2010 1:11:01 PM

Yes we deserve to know! GMOs are a health and biological risk. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) states that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. Obama's USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the "Biotech Governor of the Year" is trying to lift a court-ordered ban on Monsanto's genetically modified "Roundup Ready" alfalfa. This is more dangerous than the existing GMOs on the market because alfalfa is a perrenial. So it's pollinated by bees that will spread GMO to everything they touch. The contamination of organic alfalfa, and possibly several other foods, is a serious threat to public health and safety. The link below will allow you to comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for GMO alfalfa. Consumers who ingest Roundup Ready alfalfa genes are risking their health; according to the EIS, "acute toxicity in mice was observed." The EIS warns that, "Based on upper limits of exposure... infants consuming fruit and all age groups consuming vegetables may be at risk of adverse effects associated with acute exposure to glyphosate residues." Please comment on the EIS and help preserve organic food!

2/3/2010 12:37:50 PM

I think the bigger question here is "Why aren't the growers/manufacturers of GMO products VOLUNTARILY labeling their products as such?" Its only a couple of extra words, wouldn't use that much ink and if its as SAFE and as gosh-darn-wonderful as they claim, then why not label it as such. And since they won't, it makes ya wonder EXACTLY how dangerous is this stuff and can I stop my kids from ingesting it?

michael walsh_1
2/3/2010 11:27:30 AM

I wish people would stop being so lazy and use proper capitalization to begin a sentence. I hate these new texting shortcuts!

vicki spleas
2/3/2010 11:17:07 AM

i fell that when science plays with our food,they're playing with nature. they don't know what can go wrong, what can happen down the road of time. i know they are trying to make more food for the planet. they just need to grow more less development more farms.

beverlee williams_1
2/3/2010 10:36:08 AM

i would not grow gmo's to eat.why would i want to BUY it to eat? i want to know if my food has any gmo's in it.if in doubt i wont buy it anyhow!

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