|Again, my proposal for
California’s Prop 37, which would have required mandatory food labels for products containing GMOs, may have been defeated last November, but the anti-GMOers are still demanding it.
Connecticut and Maine have passed legislation requiring labeling. There is also GMO labeling legislation pending in 20 states alone.
Goodness knows I’ve been called a whole lot of things for opposing the idea of labels (“unethical” being the most civil), but these labels really are a bad idea. They don’t promote consumer choice – they promote consumer fear.
Scientific American recently ran an article about this issue, and here are three of the reasons they (and I) are against labels:
“We have been tinkering with our food’s DNA since the dawn of agriculture.”
“Instead of providing people with useful information, mandatory GMO labels would only intensify the misconception that so-called Frankenfoods endanger people’s health.”
“Antagonism toward GMO foods also strengthens the stigma against a technology that has delivered enormous benefits to people in developing countries and promises far more.”
To curb vitamin A deficiency—which blinds as many as 500,000 children worldwide every year and kills half of them—researchers have engineered Golden Rice, which produces beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Approximately three quarters of a cup of Golden Rice provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin A; several tests have concluded that the product is safe. Yet Greenpeace and other anti-GMO organizations have used misinformation and hysteria to delay the introduction of Golden Rice to the Philippines, India and China.
That’s, quite frankly, unethical. This technology could literally be saving lives and the anti-science types want to stop it.
But even here in our own country, California’s Prop 37 would have increased the average family’s food bill by $400. Maybe the world is different across the country, but right here I don’t see people with an extra $400 to blow because some hysterical person with no evidence or data wants to label a perfectly safe product.
To read the entire Scientific American article, click here.
The labeling issue isn’t going away. It’ll be a fight we have for some time to come. But given the stakes, the science, and the ethics, I think it’s a fight worth having.