Why Label GMOs?

here is your “Food for Thought Friday”

gmo

if you read my post often, you’ve probably heard me talk about high school, exessive homework, and a persuasive research paper i’ve been working on. Well… the research paper is done and here is a copy just for my readers 🙂

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(by the way, i scored a 99 on it so there probably won’t be as many grammatical errors as in my other posts):

11/16/13                                                                                                         Applied Composition                                                                                                               Let us know, It’s our right

                GMO. Lately, this little word has been spreading like a wildfire through the news, health articles, other media, and even the grocery stores, but what really is a GMO and what is all the fuss about Gmo-labels? GMO stands for “genetically modified organism” and is sometimes referred to as “GE” or “genetically engineered.” Scientifically speaking, a GMOs are called “transgenics.” GMOs have artificially altered DNA. For example, GE-corn is altered to contain pesticides in its tissue (“What Are We Eating?”). GMOs are altered to become more cost effective, hardy, pest resistant, and durable. In fact, many are created claiming to have possible health “benefits” (The Editors). Sounds good? Well, the downfall is, the GMOs are not labeled. A person could go to the grocery store, buy a GE apple, and not even know that the apple has built in pesticides! Although genetically modified organisms might be hardy and easier to grow, foods that contain them should be labeled because of the uncertain health risks they propose, the concerning bans in other countries, and the right of people to know what is really in America’s food.

As with any new product, it must be tested and proved safe before entering the market. This is not the case for GMOs. The Label GMOs Organization states “Fact: GMOs have not been proven safe, and long-term health risks on humans of genetically modified foods have not been adequately investigated,” (“What Are We Eating?”). One may think, “It is good that GMOs are not proven unsafe,” but is it still comforting that GMOs have not been proven safe either? However, the results of GMO testing with animals is quite concerning. Studies show, animals, such as cows, sheep, and rats, fed GE food developed digestional problems, over-toxicity, and other deadly issues. A herd of dairy cows in Germany fed GE corn, developed a mysterious and deadly illness soon after (Peters). The effects of GMOs on the environment is also alarming. GE crops are made to produce and contain pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides and herbicides are chemicals, and chemicals are known to pollute soil, water, air. A polluted earth means a world filled with disease and sickness for humans. Most people are unknowingly eating GMOs, and since the long term health effects are unknown, people are involuntary subjects in a huge health experiment (Ishii-Eiteman). To say the least, GMOs should be labeled so that each person can choose if they want to support a product with unclear health effects and insufficient testing.

GMOs may seem to slip under the radar in the United States, but in most countries, GMOs have tight restrictions and are even banned! 50 countries around the world have bans and restrictions on the production and selling of GE goods including many advanced countries such as Australia, Japan, the UK, Brazil, Italy, China, France, and Russia. In fact, 61 countries, that hold around 40% of the world’s population, require labels for any product containing GMOs (“What Are We Eating?”). GMOs must be labeled in Europe and since consumers showed negativeness towards GE food, many companies completely eliminated the use GMOs in their products. GMOs are now rarely found in European countries (Kaste). Unfortunately, the USA and Canada don not have any GMO restriction or labeling laws (“What Are We Eating?”). Why is it taking the United States so long to catch on? Some believe that labels would cause a “false” fear about GMOs, resulting in people avoiding GE produce and products, like in Europe (The Editors). The truth is, GMOs should have been labeled when they were first introduced into the market! Health consultant Janell Sycks, creator of a company call Pantry TakeOver, says “In other countries, foods and products are not allowed until proved safe. In the U.S., products are allowed until proven harmful.” It is definitely concerning that so many other countries find GMOs to be worth banning and restricting while the U.S. consumes them daily. An awareness for GE products has grown worldwide, and it would greatly benefit America to follow suit.

Even if GMOs were proved completely safe, Americans still have a right to know what is in their food. It is like picking out a candy bar. If someone was allergic to dairy, was vegan, or simply choosing to be dairy free, they would flip the bar over and read the mandatory note stating any possible allergens that are in or have been processed near the candy bar. The bar might say, “Made in a facility that also processes dairy,” or “contains dairy.” These notes help people discern what to eat based on allergies or personal preference. It works the same with labeling GMOs. A large and growing amount of people try to stay away from GE products because of medical reasons or personal choices, but it can be hard for them to know exactly what contains GMOs and what does not. It is only fair that products containing GMOs be labeled accordingly so that people can choose if they want to eat something made with genetically modified ingredients or not. It is like nutrition facts! Companies label things like calories, carbs, and sugar but not GMOs (“What Are We Eating?”). While people have a right to know what they eat, GMOs presence is left ignored in so many products. Majority of margarines, sugar free sweeteners, artificial flavorings, corn and corn products, soy and soy products, diet sodas, and even vitamin supplements contain GE ingredients (Peters)! Michael Pollan says “I don’t think this is a fight about science; I think it’s a fight about transparency- people who want to know where food comes from should have this information,” (Kaste). GMOs should not be hidden!

A pro-label GMO group chanted “All we want is a simple label, for the food that’s on our table!” (The Editors). It really is that simple. Label supporters not saying that GMOs are bad, just that they deserve to be listed like nutrition facts. When it comes to GMOs, there is no good reason not to label them. If companies bring up the argument that labels would cost too much, then how do they afford to completely change their labels and packaging to match holidays like Christmas and Halloween? If someone cannot have GMOs due to a medical issue, they should be entitled to know which product contains GE ingredients. The vice president of the Environmental Working Group’s government affairs, Scott Faber, believes “companies are starting to realize the fights is worse than the label,”(Bottemiller).  There are many different ways you can help the label GMO movement reach success. By avoiding artificial sweeteners, diet sodas, non-organic corn, and soy products, you can greatly decrease your GMO intake. Trading some of your favorite foods in for an organic variety can also help. If you own a restaurant or business in the food industry, you could take it one step further by seeing that your products have gmos labels. You can even wright your local government representative about the labeling issue. Because of the uncertain health risks, the concerning world wide bans, and the right of people to know what they are eating, GMOs should be labeled appropriately. People deserve to know what they eat, it is simple human rights!

Works Cited:

Bottemiller, Helena. “With Recent Victories, Movement to Label GMOs Gains Steam.” Food Safety News. Food Safety News, 27 June 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. http:// www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/06/movement-to-label-gmos-gaining-steam/ #.Ul1joK4wKmR

The Editors. “Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea: Scientific American.” Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea: Scientific American. Scientific American, 6 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=labels-for-gmo-foods-are-a- bad-idea

Ishii-Eiteman, Marcia. “Why GE Labeling Is Monsanto’s Worst Nightmare.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. http:// http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/why-ge-labeling-is-monsan_b_1788897.html

“The Good, Bad and Ugly about GMOs.” Natural Revolution. Ed. Peters Steven. Steven Peters, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2013. http://naturalrevolution.org/gmo-resources/the-good-bad-and- ugly-about-gmos/

“What Are We Eating? – LabelGMOs.” LabelGMOs. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. http:// www.labelgmos.org/the_science_genetically_modified_foods_gmo

~rosie

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One thought on “Why Label GMOs?

  1. Provided very informative insight into GMO! I advocate labeling for GMO. Until then, I continue to seek products that state “Non-GMO”!!

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