If you have been paying attention to the news lately you may have heard about the ongoing debate of labeling foods that contain GMOs. On Wednesday, March 16th a bill to stop states from requiring GMO labeling failed to pass the Senate. The bill was only a slim 12 votes away from being passed! The first mandatory GMO labeling law was presented by Vermont and is set to go into motion on July 1st of this year. Pat Roberts is the Republican Senator that introduced the bill to block mandatory labeling. He advocates instead for a voluntary labeling system that would be uniform across the nation. This would prevent confusion and allow producers to opt into labeling without being strong armed by a mandatory labeling act.
Many consumers do not even realize that almost everything they put in their cart has been produced with some type of genetically modified crop. Close to 75% of food in the super market contains some genetically modified ingredients. This is in no way a bad thing, it just goes to show that labeling all of these products would be a waste of resources. This labeling would increase costs to companies who would in turn have to increase prices for consumers. As stated by Chip Bowling president of the National Corn Growers Association, “Farmers are committed to creating greater transparency in the food system, but we also need Congress to set clear, commonsense guidelines that are based in science and keep food affordable for American families.”
Mandatory labeling of foods that contain GMOs is an unnecessary step in the wrong direction. There have been over 2,000 studies done on GMOs that have all come to the conclusion that they are safe to consume. These studies have been conducted by almost every government out there contrary to the belief that big companies, like Monsanto, are funding the research. Labeling every genetically modified ingredient in a product may just signal to the consumer that the product is unsafe to eat. It may come across almost as a warning label. Most of the general public don’t fully understand what GMOs are. So many sites feed consumers misinformation about GMOs. A prime example of this is if you simply type into Google search “GMO” the first site to pop up is the Non-GMO Project. What also comes up is a misleading picture of creating genetically modified crops as shown below.
Sadly enough this is exactly what most consumers think is happening to their foods. They think that their food is being shot up with chemicals and whatever else the internet is telling them. Can you really blame someone though if this is the only information they have on what they eat? What we in the agricultural community need to do is spread the word of what is really in the food that we all eat. We need to fight back with the facts we have at our disposal and spread the truth about the food we produce.
Hello I’m Sam Kipling and I’m a 2012 graduate of West Prairie High School. Currently I am in my third year at Western Illinois University. I will graduate in December of 2016 with my bachelors degree in Ag Business.