GMO Labeling-- What Are We Eating?

64 countries around the world already labels genetically engineered foods, including the entire European Union, Australia, and China. What do these countries know that we don't?

DURHAM, N.C., July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In the United States, 85 % of corn, 91% of soybeans and 88% of cotton are genetically engineered. Plus, 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves contain some genetically engineered (GE) food products. The consumers across the United States are getting anxious about the safety of genetically modified foods. This awareness comes as no surprise as it is yet to be proven safe. In 1998, the FDA admitted in court saying it has made "no dispositive scientific findings," about the safety of genetically engineered foods.

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The genetically modified organisms (GMOs) first came into picture with California's Proposition 37. The statute— which was later rejected—would have required compulsory labeling of all foods containing GMOs. Consumers argued they have a right to know what they are eating; in contrast, manufacturers fought back claiming such labeling laws would only be expensive and provide little benefit. Recently, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and their allies filed a lawsuit against Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling law— passed in April by Gov.Peter Shumlin—saying it's a costly and misguided measure.

What is Genetically Engineered Food?
Genetically engineered food are those plants or meat products, whose DNA has been artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from bacteria, viruses, animals, or other plants, with the aim of producing foreign compounds in that food. It is not a natural process, and is grown worldwide for herbicide tolerance. For instance, GMO corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. It has been termed as insecticides by the Environmental Protection Agency, but is sold unlabeled.  

Everyday millions of American infants, children and adults are eating genetically engineered foods without their knowledge. Economists are stressing on the fact that free exchanges of information about the products will lead to proper functioning of a free market. The staunch supporters of GE labeling are not giving up any time soon. Citizen initiative on GE labeling is advancing in other states like Oregon and Colorado, while a similar bill continues to move forward in New York.

The state and federals latest legislative initiative that impose labeling obligations on bioengineered food is complex, and if you want to know more about it, expert speaker Peter Whitfield is discussing the elements of GMO labelling initiatives that are developing and worthy of tracking at AudioEducator on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

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Sources: Center for Food Safety

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