JUST SAY LABEL IT!!!!
In August of 2016, former President Barrack Obama signed a bill that overturns Vermont’s labeling law while establishing that the federal government set up standards for labeling Genetically Modified Organisms in food. Now our government is set to decide what, how and if foods containing GMO’s are labeled. This fight is so old that we should for the consumer’s sake agree on some of the pretty clear main points.
GMO’S ARE SAFE
It is never going to be 100% certain that consuming GMO foods are safe for us to consume. However, the likelihood that eating foods that contain ingredients from genetically modified crops present an extremely small risk to the health and well-being for all American citizens. In 2014, Researchers at the University of California at Davis researched the data on over 100 billion animals. They revealed that there are no side effects or any effects when the animals were switched from non GMO feed to feed containing GMO’s. There has been an equal amount of studies done on Genetically modified crops that have the same results.1 Therefore, we should just lay down the argument that consuming GMO foods is unhealthy for us.
BENEFITS OF GMO’S
We first started hearing about GMO’s when the US farmers started using herbicide resistant soybeans and corn. However, we should not forget that the use of GMO’s has been successful in bringing excess food to otherwise poor areas of the world. The Technology used in modifying crops and animals is vast and this technology does produce some beneficial outcomes. Hawaii is a large export of papayas to the US and all over the world. Genetic engineering was used to develop a papaya that is resistant to a ringspot disease that had previously devastated papaya orchards.2 Additionally, Genetic engineering has been used to develop a mosquito that assists with eliminating dengue fever and a cow resistant organism that prevents the “mad cow” disease.3 There is a long list of GMO benefits and as consumers we should be educated about these Genetic engineering developments. The benefits should not be hidden within all the fighting about GMO’s in general.
JUST LABEL IT
93% of Americans want GMO information on the food label. What is all the debate about? Just put the information on the food label and allow us to make the decision on whether or not we want to buy the food. If GMO’s were not safe the FDA would require the label to state that or they would prohibit the use all together. So what is the big deal? It is about money for manufacturers. If states could decide the labeling requirement of GMO’S then manufacturers would have to have different food labels for products sold in the various states. Manufacturers wanted the federal government involved so then they could lobby and slow the requirement process down. Just label the products and let us decide!
HOW TO AVOID GMO’S
Even if we agree that GMO’s are not dangerous and that there are some advantages to genetic engineering there are many of us that want to see these foods labeled so that we can decide whether or not to buy them. As pro and anti GMO groups fight with the government over labeling the products, the reality is that the government might not ever make a decision that would be helpful to us. Therefore, we must take the situation into our own hands and follow clear guidelines for purchasing and consuming foods that do not contain any GMO’S. A few of the NON GMO RULES are:
BUY FOODS THAT ARE LABELED ORGANIC
The US government law requires that in order for a food to be 100% organic it must not contain genetically modified ingredients or contain any additives. There is a mark of approval on the label of the product. If the seal states 100% organic, then all of the ingredients must be free of additives. Multi-ingredient agricultural products in the “Made with organic” category must contain at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients (not including salt or water). These products may contain up to 30 percent of allowed non-organic ingredients. All ingredients – including the 30 percent non-organic ingredients – must be produced without GMOs.4 Aside from a grocery store, a farmer’s market is a great place to purchase organic fruits and vegetables.
LOOK FOR THE NON GMO PROJECT SYMBOL
The Non-GMO Project is the leading independent verifier of non-GMO foods. This project is committed to educating consumers and providing information regarding the non-GMO Foods.5
To learn more about the Non-GMO Project, you can visit http://www.nongmoproject.org
BUY GRASS FED AND HORMONE FREE
Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots in which they may be given genetically modified corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. In order to make sure that you are not getting any GMO’s in your meat make sure the package states 100% grass fed.10
BECOME FAMILIAR WITH HIGH RISK CROPS
BUY CEREALS THAT DO NOT CONTAIN GMO’S
Products such as soy, corn, canola, sugar beets, and cotton. If you buy foods containing these products look for the NON GMO PROJECT SYMBOL or 100% Organic.
Scientists has changed the genes of plants and animals hence we have Genetically Modified organisms. These GMO’s are in the news: saving world hunger, aiding the economy, helping or hurting the environment. Additionally, we cannot forget how GMO’s invade the political sector. Those in favor debate how much better our lives are; those against pose health scares stating how bad GMO’s are for us. Regardless of which side of the fence you land, it is certain that the fight is not going to be settled anytime soon. I propose that we should enjoy our diet but eat less by avoiding oversized portions. We should also increase our fruits and vegetables while decreasing our red meat consumption. Our beverage choices should be water or low fat milk. We should limit the amount of sugary beverages. Regarding Organic foods, I propose that we follow the basic rules and begin to include them into our diets as much as possible.
- Van Eenennaam, A. L., and A. E. Young. 2014. Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations1. J. Anim. Sci. 92:4255-4278. doi:10.2527/jas.2014-8124
- Md Abul, Kalam Azad, Latifah Amin, and Marzuki Sidik Nik. “Gene Technology for Papaya Ringspot Virus Disease Management.” The Scientific World Journal (2014) Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
- Ronald, P: THE TRUTH ABOUT GMOs Boston Review (38:5) Sep/Oct 2013, 16-32,2.
- McEvoy, M., Organic 101 Understanding the “made with organic label” United States Department of Agriculture, May 2014.
- “Our Little Rebellion Links with the Non-GMO Project” Entertainment Close-Up 22 Oct. 2016.
- All pictures taken by Teri Rossman