Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have quickly become what experts call the greatest food industry debate in history. Proponents claim greater, stronger crops. Those against say they hurt everyone, from the farmer to the consumer, both economically and physically. No matter what side you’re on, we have the right to know if GMOs are in their food, and companies should be required to say so.
In recent years, many countries have banned growing and selling foods with GMOs in their country. To date, 20 of the 28 countries in the EU have done so, as well as 8 more countries in Europe. Eight more countries in South America and Asia have done so. Only two countries in Africa ban GMOs; many countries are a common breeding ground for U.S. companies to grow their “super foods.”
Organizations such as the Gates Foundation believe GMOs can and will end world hunger. The other camp believes growing GMOs makes these countries dependent on U.S. companies and cause more social and economic problems for locals.
The U.S. has not passed any legislation regarding GMOs and is also, by almost double, the largest producer of genetically engineered foods. More than 90% of soy and corn crops are a GMO variety.
In our lifetime we’ve seen the wave of eating organic, a label now regulated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). A similar law should be enacted for genetically engineered foods.
Almost all foods that contain GMOs are processed foods. Consumers and scientists alike agree processed foods are much worse for you than a clean, fresh food diet.
The first state law requiring companies to label products that contain GMOs is slated to go into effect July 1st in Vermont. Several food corporations including big names such as General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Mars have all willingly complied with the new law.
While the law is only in Vermont for now, economical production would entail GMO labels on the products no matter where they are sent and sold, creating a bigger-picture impact.
Academics, lobbyists, and organic companies such as Chipotle have spoken out in favor of labeling GMOs, but GMO-producing food companies such as Monsanto are fighting what has become an uphill battle to allow GMOs to fly under the radar. A Senate bill failed earlier this week that would have made it illegal for states to require companies to clearly label GMO foods.
This issue has blurred party lines, and the American people seem substantially united in the issue, with surveys reporting anywhere from 70-90% of people in favor of requiring labels on GMO foods. This is not a debate on health, but consumer interests and rights. GMOs are, in fact, genetically altered foods-something people should see up front. Only from there can they make an informed and educated decision.