Recently, there has been a national debate over the labeling of enhanced food products. Frankly, modified food shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s diet.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are defined as “plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals,” according to the Non-GMO Project’s website. This organization is dedicated to providing information and insight about GMOs and the harm that can come of them. GMO labeling is not required under current FDA regulations, even though it should be.
The recent controversy surrounding GMO labeling was sparked when Proposition 37 was not passed in California. This proposition would have guaranteed accurate food labels on all genetically modified foods.
Special interest groups against Prop. 37 started popping up, saying it was unnecessary because people have been eating food with GMOs since they had been scientist-approved and labeling would cause a higher demand for more overpriced food.
This argument makes no sense because it’s not like the proposition would have taken GMO-ridden foods off the market. It would have simply opened the door for further testing and informed the people what exactly they are putting in their bodies. If you don’t want to pay more for organic food that doesn’t contain these harmful modifiers then don’t. The proposition is not a law forcing consumers to eat expensive organic food but instead it is saying that people have a right to be informed, which they do.
According to a New York Times poll, 53 percent of people would not buy food if they knew it contained GMOs. This is a problem because many companies that grocery stores buy fresh produce from use GMOs, but do not include it on the label. The store then sells this produce to unsuspecting consumers who think it is the best health option for them.
Take Eggland’s Best Eggs, from the television commercials, for example. On the website, the word “laboratory” is used in every step of their process. The company tells you its hens are fed with vegetarian feed that contains GMOs, and that the eggs are taken to a lab and chemically altered to assure better taste and quality than normal eggs. Yet people still buy them!
This should not be happening. Organic and natural eggs have enough protein and nutrients and taste on their own, they shouldn’t be subject to testing and chemical injections.
Eating products that contain GMOs also increases the likelihood of eating pesticides and herbicides. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), after GMOs were created, between 1996 and 2008, farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide. That herbicide is on each of the apples and lettuce leaves and carrots that contain GMOs, which will later become part of somebody’s “healthy” salad.
Herbicide use also harms the environment. The IRT website states that herbicide use, even in very low doses, can cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths, endocrine disruptions and organ damage in animals.
A separate environmental problem stemming from GMOs and herbicide use comes in the form of a “superbug,” which can only be killed by spraying even more chemicals on the infested product. However, these superbug-killing poisons are equivalent to toxins found in Agent Orange. Just some food for thought.
Food labeling has been an issue in the U.S. for years and, with the recent increase of consumer interest in organic and gluten-free products, it is as important as ever that all food manufacturers put accurate labeling on each of their products. This includes stating clearly whether the product contains GMOs.
Some companies, including Chipotle, have started labeling their GMO products and hopefully other fast food places will start to follow suit. The only way to get big name brands to label their GMOs is to spread awareness. These days, nothing gets done without a backlash from the public.
For more information on GMOs and ways to avoid them, visit www.nongmoproject.org or www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs.