How Bowling Green State University, Ohio is working towards sustainability-
Why even have GMO laws?
What Are GMOs?
Genetically modified food, also known as GMO (gmo foods)has been a controversial topic for many years. The consumption of genetically modified crops began in the US in the 1990’s with soybeans, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets as being the most commonly altered. These elements are present in a huge percentage of processed food on the market in the US today in the form of soy protein or high fructose corn syrup.
What Are Currently Labeling Requirements?
Currently the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) only require the labeling of GMOs that significantly change food’s nutritional value or food safety property. The FDA does not otherwise acknowledge a difference between standard farming and genetic engineering. In 2001 the FDA provided guidelines for voluntary labeling which are mostly being taking advantage of by companies who like to advertise their avoidance of GMOs. USDA Organic labeling does indicate a product that contains no genetic engineering.
Why Labeling Laws Continue to Fail
There are many arguments to support mandatory labeling for gmo foods and unfortunately enough arguments to refute it. The ultimate benefit of mandated labeling is that it would give consumers the right to know what is in their food especially considering the speculation of long term health effects on the consumption of genetically modified foods.
Several states have attempted to pass laws mandating the labeling of foods with GMOs but have been unsuccessful. California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado have all demonstrated a pattern in their difficulty passing a mandated GMO labeling law. Polls initially appear high but then tank when it comes down to Election Day. There is some speculation that this is related to the significant amount of dollars spent by food companies campaigning against the issue. Further speculation suggests that Americans are able to be swayed by advertising because they know so little about GMOs. Ultimately the deep pocket books of the food companies are able to sway public opinion about a very complex issue that many Americans are unconcerned about or simply don’t understand.
What You Can Do
If you’re passionate about the labeling of GMOs in food products sold every day, educate people! Talk to your friends and family and explain what GMOs are and why they, as food consumers, have a right to know what they are eating. This is another issue where ignorance is leading…people don’t vote for issues they don’t understand. Help them understand and promote information about GMO labeling.