Genetically modified foods are foods made from organisms that have had their genetic material modified in a way that does not occur naturally. The majority of genetically modified crops have been altered to increase yield through resistance to plant diseases or greater tolerance to herbicides.
Selective breeding was once the way, but it is time consuming. Choose a plant or an animal based upon some desirable trait and breed it to increase that trait. While this method has been successful, there are trial and error elements involved and the desired result could take years. But that has all changed.
Scientists are now able to insert specific genes into plants or animals, which will not only produce the desired effect, but produce it rapidly. It is all interesting, but should the end result be labeled natural? The Grocery Manufacturers Association believes it should.
Will GMO Foods Be Labeled As Natural?
The Grocery Manufacturers Association has stated that it will file a petition early this year asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow GMO to be labeled natural. The FDA has no present objections to the term "natural," provided it does not mislead. In addition, the product cannot contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.
The position of the Grocery Manufacturers Association is that GMO foods and traditional foods are no different in “any meaningful way” and, therefore, GMO foods should be recognized as natural.
Those who are against any labeling concessions express disappointment with the FDA and point out that early in 2013 over 200 members of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility signed a statement pointing out that many in the scientific community are unsure as to whether GMOs are safe.
It is there that the problem lies.
The Concerns About GMOs
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs safe and apply heavy restrictions or full bans on production and sales. GMO labeling is a requirement in Europe. So Europeans who do not want to eat GMOs have the information they need to not buy them if they so choose.
Some concerns about GMO foods are as follows:
1. GMOs have only been in the American diet since the mid-1990’s. This is an insufficient amount of time to allow the necessary long term studies for determining safety.
2. Genetically modified seeds need pesticides and herbicides and are given these toxins in huge amounts. The most common herbicide used on GMO crops, glyphosate, is known to have a negative impact on the gut bacteria of humans.
3. Pesticides and GMOs have been connected to certain types of cancer, reproductive issues, and autism.
4. GMO crops are the cause for the introduction of super bugs and super weeds that can only be eradicated with toxins such as 2,4D, one of the major components of agent orange.
Unfortunately, these concerns are only a sampling of a much greater body.
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Published On: January 03, 2014