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January 10, 2015 6 min read
Genetically modified food stuffs has taken headlines by storm, with magazine articles, newspapers, and blogs disputing the results and effects of such widespread usage of these crops on American soil. Some writers argue that the foods are no different from their naturally growing counterparts, and thus need no special labeling. Other individuals beg to differ, stating that the labeling argument is as much an issue of ethics as nutrition. Everyone deserves to know how this fruit differs from that vegetable.
With the constant battle raging over what and how food gets labeled reaching from sea to shining sea, many individuals find themselves caught in the middle — not knowing on which side of the fence to stand. This controversial point of conversation creates mixed feelings and confusion. On the one hand, these GMO crops look and taste like typical fruits and vegetables, right? So, why all the fuss for labels? On the other hand, this is America, and every American has a right to his or her freedom to choose. How can someone chose GMO or not with no indication labels?
Just how important is labeling as far as genetically modified organisms go? And what does proper labeling mean for your health? What are the pros and cons of making mandatory standards for lawful labeling of such foods? We delve into these questions to dig up some answers and other information to help our readers make informed decisions and informed statements regarding their health and nutrition.
Before we start battling against the money-grubbing politicians and manufacturers, we need to grasp the laws already in place involving the extent of labeling our foods. In accessing and understand these elements, we know more about where changes should be made, and why these changes could prove helpful in the scheme of things. In other words, target the problem areas of inconsistent labeling.
While most food products, fresh or packaged, are required by the Food and Drug Administration and federal laws to carry an ingredient list that includes every item used in the recipe, no company has to label ingredients as genetically modified or engineered. The FDA only believes in labeling the presence of GMOs in food if a significant change in the nutritional or safety properties occurs as a result of this creation method.
This means that the FDA does not believe GMOs can have harmful or malnutrtional effects on the individuals that ingest these substances. The only time a genetically modified food item receives a label indicating its GMO qualities is if the item could potentially cause an allergic reaction for the consumer. For instance, if a scientist modifies a soybean plant with a protein or other genetic material specifically expressed in a peanut, then the product of such must receive a label as a potential allergen in case the consumer has an allergy to peanuts, and reacts negatively.
This current FDA consensus has been around since 1992, and extends to lack of disclosure for other forms of manufacture or growth. Thus, the manufacturing methods of genetic modification, tissue culturing, or hybridization also remain unknown to those purchasing foods. The FDA leaves the American consumer at the mercy of the manufacturers, with only ‘voluntary guidelines‘ for companies choosing to disclose the availability of GM substances as ingredients.
If manufacturers can let us in on whether our juice comes from concentrate or is squeezed fresh, then why so many issues in regard to providing labels about whether our food comes genetically modified or not? We know our milk, cheese, and other dairy products come pasteurized. In other words, if most products contain labels indicating the process used to manufacture the food, then why not genetic modification?
Up to fifty different countries around the globe require restraints on or forbid GMOs entirely. In the meantime, the United States of America and Canada have no limits for the production, label, and sale of genetically engineered food. As stated by the FDA itself, it merely “encourages developers of genetically engineered plants to consult with FDA before marketing their product.”
Only products that do not use GMOs in their ingredients specify such on their labels. More to the point, many non-GMO foods and products may not have labels to indicate their status. This means that the genetically modified corn sits right next to non-GMO corn, leaving an unsuspecting consumer to select either one without knowledge of the manufacturing or breeding process of the food.
So, why all the fuss regarding if it is or is not bioengineered? Well, for ethical reasons of course. The general public has a right to make informed decisions about what goes into their bodies, and what they consume or purchase. If the FDA and USDA have no shame or concern about how GMOs react with the human body, and they perceive no danger, then labeling should not be a concern, right?
As expressed earlier, the FDA does not require the labeling of genetically modified food or ingredients, unless the ‘substantial equivalence’ is breached. If it looks the same and the consumer can ingest it the same, then the product has no difference from its non-GMO counterpart. The ‘substantial equivalence’ ideal came into fruition around 1993.
The issue with this concept lies within the lack of regulatory standards surrounding the manufacture and distribution of genetically modified foods. No legal limitations exist to ensure the safety of consumption. We already know about the lack of scientific research, experiment, and evidence surrounding GMOs themselves. Additionally, we discover that no figurehead regulates them.
More to the point, even this ‘substantial equivalence’ has begun to fall through. As more evidence becomes available regarding the effects that GMOs have on the body, more and more research shows that GMOs can easily be inequivalent to organic varieties, especially with the huge lack of regulation.
One publication, authored by Professor El-Sayed Shaltout from the Egyptian Alexandria University, shared evidence that a specific strain of a Monsanto-modified corn did not meet the requirements for equivalence. The corn showed to be a substantial failure instead, with higher toxicity than non-modified corn plants.
Still think that labeling GMOs in our food is unnecessary as a precaution? Consider these points. You have a right to know what your food contains, no matter what. If you decide you think GMO foods are a better route for some reason — then, great! Go to the section labeled GMOs. However, other individuals have just as much right to select products that do not contain them.
Plus, with the majority of the American public desiring further regulations and mandatory labeling, and with up to sixty-four other countries requiring GMO labeling by law, is it not time that we give the power to decide back to the people, anyway? The good outweighs the bad, as far as labeling goes. It’s time to let the consumers make their own informed decisions — whether they select GMO or not.
While your face naturals family highly recommends that you avoid genetically modified foods at all possible costs, we also support your individual right to make decisions for yourself based off of the information provided. If the FDA and USDA refuse to acknowledge the range of differences between GMOs and organic, or even allow provisions for further study or statement, then they are taking away your American right to know about your products and make a decision.
So, whether you prefer to purchase organic, or you believe there is no real difference between the two, we still encourage you to open up venues for decision-making — as it is a right for each and every individual. We ask that you support the labeling of GMOs in our food products, not just for you and your beliefs, but for those who surround you and also have a right to know.
Face naturals leads the way by demonstrating proper labeling techniques as well. You can know for certain the status and grade of our ingredients, and trust that we do our best to provide you with safe, quality skin-care products that nourish your skin and do not poison your body. Support face naturals in the fight for factual labeling today by sharing this and other articles to spread the word about your right to know.
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