GMO Labeling for Information or Fear Mongering?
Mar 20, 2013
Despite the defeat of Proposition 37 in California that would have required labeling of food products with GMO ingredients, the debate is far from over. Hawaii and Washington are just a couple of states where the debate is heating up. Supporters of mandatory labeling, such as the Environmental Working Group, claim consumers want and deserve the information while opponents, such as the Biotechnology Industry Organization, claim there is no need or outcry for the labels. Personally, I’m not much of a label reader and I don’t see the need to call attention to something that has not been proven to have any negative health effect. Despite denials, I suspect this is more about trying to frighten people and get them to reject biotechnology in our food production. This issue is not going away and the question biotech supporters will have to answer is "if there is nothing to hide, then why oppose labeling"? It will take a lot of education to explain the benefits of biotechnology to consumers who may already be suspicious. Supporters of biotechnology have reason to be concerned the labels will be viewed as warnings. They have seen the negative reaction many people have to terms like genetically modified or genetically engineered. Easy to see why they fear the same thing would happen with labels.