GMO Labeling

If you have not heard, there’s a bit of a debate in this country about whether or not foods should be labeled when they have Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in them. It’s been going on for a while now, and as with any debate, each side has points they want to make.

This article from Grist.org speaks to the expense issue that has been brought up. Some of the groups who are against GMO labeling say that one of the reasons they are against it is that it will cause an increase in food costs for families. What does that mean, exactly? The article mentions a report by Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants, prepared during the course of a California vote on a related labeling issue last year. According to the report, the cost would rise not due to having to change labels, but from companies choosing to switch to non-GMO ingredients, or re-formulating their products to avoid GMO ingredients. The assertion made is that if companies use non-GMO ingredients, those ingredients will be more expensive than the GMO ingredients, and that the companies will then have to pass that expense along to the consumer in the form of higher purchase prices for their foods.

This is an interesting argument. However, as the author suggests, wouldn’t the demand for non-GMO ingredients increase if all of these companies are going to switch over to use them? And when it increases, wouldn’t the production increase, thereby reducing prices? The author also points out that if GMO food really is cheaper to produce, then there would still be a demand for less expensive products. If individuals were concerned about price, they still have the option to purchase products with GMOs.

The arguments could go on forever. It’s interesting that there has been this much debate over INFORMATION. Because at the end of the day, that’s what GMO labeling would provide. Information to educate consumers. Consumers who have a right to decide what they should or shouldn’t eat. And shouldn’t people have the right to make those decisions, based on all of the information that exists?

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