The Case for the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Whenever you bite into a granola bar, scarf down a bowl of cereal or pour dressing into your salad, you are likely consuming food that has been altered from its original state. It’s rare these days that you can find a food item on the store shelves that hasn’t been modified with all sorts of artificial chemicals and preservatives. Unless the food is specifically labeled as organic, then it almost certainly contains genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Just about every food that comes in a package is made from crops that’s DNA was genetically altered in a lab. This is done to make the plants more resistant to herbicide commonly used for controlling weed.

Activists are now calling for the Food and Drug Administration to mandate that all food packages label its ingredients as being genetically modified. The ballot is expected to spark a fierce showdown between the organic food industry, which support mandated labeling, and nationally known brands like Kraft and Kelloggs, which oppose such regulations.

Farmers and researchers argue that engineered crops are safe and helpful for expanding the world’s food supply. Critics, however, argue that foods with GMO are far from natural and should be labeled as such.

Agricultural farmers and biotech companies believe that strict labeling regulations may mislead consumers and cause unfounded fear of modified foods. They also added that such foods are beneficial to the environment and economy.

Oprah Winfrey – who is perhaps one of the most influential women in the world – produced an article in her O magazine that was critical of modified foods and even proposed ideas on how one can limit intake of engineered food. Her article was rebuked by Tim Burrack, an Iowa farmer, who wrote to Ms. Winfrey urging her not to demonize modified crops.

This is certainly a hotly contested issue with a lot of politics thrown in. A recent NPR poll does show that about 9 in 10 people support having GMO foods labeled. Whether the dangers of genetically modified food is legit or just a way for the organic food industry to burst their way into the market, the consensus seems to agree that everyone should have a right to know what they are eating.

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