Saturday, September 28, 2013

What are GMOs? Why Labels?

What are GMOs? 
GMO; short for Genetically Modified Organism is defined by Dictionary.com as "...an organism or microorganisms whose genetic material has been altered by mean of genetic engineering."

Here are a few common pro and con arguments (but certainly not exhaustive).
Pros:

  • More predictable and higher yields of crop through introduction of drought and pest resistant genes or materials introduced into the crops. Proponents argue this aids in feeding a larger population and reduces world hunger
  • GM food can provide a higher nutritional value through bio-fortification
  • More food can be grown using less land. 
  • It's FDA approved


Cons:

  • Open-air, GM crop farming threatens the enviroment though wind-blown seeding contaminating nearby, conventional farm lands. Chemicals such as Round-up bred into the crops could harm other species the pesticide is not intended for.
  • Evidence shows bio-fortification of food actually does the opposite and GM foods usig this process contain less nutitional benefits than their conventional counterparts.
  • Food grown in labs or corporate owned farms endangers local, family farms and pushes farmers off their land.
  • GMO foods have only been approved and in use since the late nineties in food. There is not enough data on long term health effects. Also, many nations have outlawed the use of GMO foods.
Again, this is neither exhaustive or even the best arguments. 

Why labels?
Already, arguments are being trotted out through corportations such as Monsanto, DuPont, Pepsico and Coca-Cola. Here's a link of those supporting and those fighting GMO labels: 



My Thoughts:
I do not have 100% certainty GMO food is bad. Some maybe great...all of it maybe safe. Who knows? What I question is why someone or some corporation would fight so hard to suppress it. If a company uses, believes and is proud of GMOs, why not label it. Let the consumer decide what we want. If a person loves GM-laden Doritos, label or not, they're going to buy them. If a family purchases all organic food for fear of GMOs, they may consider a non-organic product if they know it's GMO-free. It's a win for everyone and it removes the spectre food companies are trying to hide something.

I am not personally involved in this campaign other than a voter like you. As a voter I urge you to educate yourself and check out the Yes on I-522 facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/yeson522

Happy Eating!