GMO Labels will soon be required to be placed on foods that contain genetically modified (GM) or bioengineered (BE) ingredients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its proposed guidelines, which state:
“A recent amendment to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 requires the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to establish the national mandatory bioengineered (BE) food disclosure standard. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing a new rule that would require food manufacturers and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information about BE food and BE food ingredient content. The proposed rule is intended to provide a mandatory uniform national standard for disclosure of information to consumers about the BE status of foods.”
To view, the complete proposed guidelines, click here.
Are GMOs Really Safe?
Some people are not 100% certain that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe. However, there is no substantial proof that they are not. Nonetheless, there are still skeptics who feel that the long-term effects on humans and the environment have not been realized by scientific research studies. Even though a 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has found no evidence or reason for immediate alarm. But there continues to be a raging and on-going debate regarding GMOs and safety.
What are the Pros and Cons of GMO Labeling?
Some GM scientists, experts, and other concerned citizens believe that adding a label identifying GMOs give the perception that there may be proven hazards and reasons for concern, which creates an unnecessary fear to the public.
Individuals who are in favor GMO labeling, believe they have a consumer right to be notified of GMOs, and labels will make it easier for consumers to avoid purchasing these products.
How do Consumers Avoid Buying GMO Foods?
Does labeling keep those who are avoiding GM food completely free from the risk of exposure? It depends on who you ask. Nearly 60 to 70% of processed foods on supermarket shelves have a GM ingredient. However, some of these foods may not be mandated to have a label in some cases according to the proposed rules.
The best way to minimize your intake of GM foods is to buy only non-GMO or organic foods. While buying organic food is more expensive, it can ease the minds of those individuals worried about GM food consumption.
Always look for the USDA Organic Seal and products verified by the Non-GMO project. Continue to be cautious about corn and soy products and read all labels thoroughly. Make your food choices include dry grains, beans, nuts, or seeds. Purchase products from your local farmer’s market and other organic food venues.
What Impact will GMO Labeling Have on the GMO Debate?
It seems no matter what side of the debate you stand on, GMO labeling is coming to your local supermarket very soon. The heated debate will continue to be intense and controversial for those concerned about this issue. The public will have to wait and see the impact GMO labeling will have on consumers and food-buying in the future.