Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Our Right to Know

Labeling of genetically modified foods is required in about 50 countries, but not the United States. It is our right to know which foods are genetically modified so we can make more informed decisions about what we eat.
An editorial from MOTHER EARTH NEWS
June/July 2012

Some states are tired of waiting for the FDA to label genetically modified foods. Vermont’s legislature is considering a bill to require that genetically modified foods sold in the state be labeled. Monsanto has reportedly said that if Vermont passes the bill, the company will sue the state.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/FIKMIK


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Polls have consistently shown that more than 90 percent of respondents want foods that contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such. Concern about the health and environmental effects of genetic manipulation continues to grow, but Monsanto and other biotech companies have blocked efforts to require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.

In more than 40 other countries, labeling genetically modified foods is required. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration has refused to require labeling, and has even allowed manufacturers to market these foods as “natural” despite the fact that genetic engineering — splicing genes from one organism into another — seems pretty unnatural to most of us.

Criticism of agencies charged to assure our food is safe is growing.

• In 2011, we learned that most hamburger has been adulterated with chemically processed “pink slime,” with no indication on the label that the meat is anything other than plain ground beef. (For readers who are ready to start grinding their own burger, we plan to publish an article about meat grinders later this year.)

• Even when labeling is required, the government allows companies to mislead us. Much of the meat now sold in the United States is labeled as “enhanced with broth.” “Enhanced” means producers have injected a solution of water and salt (that would be the “broth”) into the meat. For every pound you buy, you are paying meat prices for brine — sometimes up to 40 percent! “Enhanced for profit” is what the label really means. Learn more in Shocking News About Meat.

• A new study found that banned antibiotics and arsenic-based medications are still being fed to poultry, indicating the FDA is failing to enforce its own rules. Read more in CLF Researchers Find Evidence of Banned Antibiotics in Poultry Products.

• Then there’s the raw milk battle. Require health warnings on raw milk and other foods deemed risky? Sure. But why do the same officials who routinely condone dangerous industrial practices conduct armed raids to shut down small-scale raw milk sellers? Read about one such raid in Food Safety Chief Defends Raw Milk Raids.

Our right to know and decide what foods to eat would seem pretty basic. Then again, maybe it’s not. In one recent raw milk lawsuit, FDA attorneys argued that “... the plaintiffs did not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.” As long as all foods are accurately labeled, why shouldn’t we have that right? The court ruled for the FDA in that case.

Some states are tired of waiting for the FDA to label genetically modified foods. A ballot initiative in California would force “genetically modified” labeling and prevent manufacturers from labeling genetically modified foods as “natural.” Vermont’s legislature is considering a bill to require that genetically modified foods sold in the state be labeled. Monsanto has reportedly said that if Vermont passes the bill, the company will sue the state.

The Just Label It! campaign has gathered more than 1 million signatures on a petition calling on the FDA to label foods with genetically modified ingredients. Read more at the Just Label It! website.

Our collective voices can create change. Let’s demand the right to know what we are eating.


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Post a comment below.

 

Flex Geo
8/14/2012 1:15:04 PM
It is not just a matter of non-GMO producers wanting to increase sales. It is a matter of a right for the public to know what they are eating, and a right for non_GMO producers to produce their product without fear of lawsuites from Monsanto and the other big companies. Currently, if a non-GMO grower has his crop contaminated by wind borne pollen from outside, he is charged with producing that GMO crop and stealing from Monsanto. How fair is that. In actual fact, almost anyone will agree that it is the non-GMO produer, who, through no fault of his own, has had his right to earn a living destroyed by Monsanto. Please google "The world acording to Monsanto" for more information. It beggars belief the way these big companies use outright thuggery to destroy anhyone who goes against them. Whatever your views about the pros and cons of GMO foods, we have a right to know what is in our food, and ordinary growers have a right to grow and sell their traditional products as they see fit. ................. This right does not exist in the Monsanto mindset.

Kelly
8/7/2012 7:35:01 PM
You may know that and I may know that but most people don't, when they find out what is in their food (like say pink slime) changes are made, and don't you think that the reason they(Monsanto and ohers) don't want it labeled is because most people don't want it. These companies have promised the "Better living thru chemicals" Etc. and all of this is proving false, the planet was working just fine for millenia then man came along to "FIX IT", remember, "DON"T FIX IT IF IT AINT BROKE"

t brandt
7/27/2012 9:17:09 PM
In case you don't realize it already: if you buy food in a regular store, IT'S GMO! Practically all food produced here contains some GMO content. Do you really need a label to tell you that every time you buy it?...To force labeling is to imply that there is something wrong with GMO food [and there isn't really anything wrong with it]....The movement is being pushed by the non-GMO producers in order to increase their sales by creating fear & doubt, not because they are being altruistic, trying to protect us from this non-existent problem.








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