GMO labeling is fear-mongering, not educational

Oct. 13, 2014

Taylor Hargis
[email protected]

If you visited a Whole Foods over the summer, chances are you were flagged down on your way out to sign a petition requiring labeling of all genetically modified organism products.

Since then, the campaign has gained substantial ground and is now on the November ballot.

According to their campaign website, Proposition 105 “gives Coloradoans the opportunity to make informed decisions about their diet, health, and general lifestyle.”

As a nutrition major and an avid food label reader, I wholeheartedly disagree. There are many things wrong with our food industry, but a lack of required GMO labeling is not one of them. On the contrary, this law would be little more than fear-mongering, rather than the education the bill supposedly stands for.

While the question of whether or not GMOs have harmful side effects is still a hot topic of debate (though science is still pointing to no), the majority of the public misunderstands the concept of what a GMO truly is.

GMOs are often thought of as artificial foods created in dark laboratories, when in reality they are simply crops with selective breeding to produce desirable characteristics, such as disease and insect resistance.

These can reduce or eliminate the need for external pesticides and limit widespread crop deaths. Most GMO opponents aren’t too worried about the negative impacts the opposite could have.

Selective breeding was revolutionary for the progression of agriculture and though altering genomes may be a little more scientifi c in nature than it was in the past, it’s still the same concept.

Health fads and general misinformation have led to fear of things as basic and essential as fats and carbohydrates in the past. Though unlikely to change the dirty practices of the food industry as a whole, GMO labeling is likely to have a similar effect on the masses by being deceptive.

Proposition 105 would not only hurt the future of positive GMO use but it will also harm local farmers, small businesses, and families in general with stigmatization and economic effect, such as a likely increase in food costs.

For local farms that use GMOs in order to make a sustainable living from farming, this mandate will have a negative impact and could even put some out of business. Considering a local farm is one of the most reliable sources to acquire healthy, affordable and sustainable food, this is counterproductive.

Furthermore, the line between GMO and non- GMO is bound to be hazy. What should and shouldn’t be labeled under this proposition isn’t black and white and will likely lead to market confusion.

For those who are still wary of GMOs, labels already exist. Any product that is labeled with “USDA Certifi ed Organic” or “Non-GMO Project” is guaranteed to be GMOfree, therefore eliminating the need for a “contains GMO” label.

If you’re concerned about what you’re putting in your body, do some research, make your own decisions and shop accordingly. GMO labeling isn’t necessary on any grounds, leave the rest of us out of it.