Recently, there have been many controversies concerning Genetically Modified Organisms – whether they are safe, whether organic is healthier, and/or whether products containing GMOs should be labeled. Although it has been proven that GMOs are safe for consumption and just as healthy as organics, we have not come to a conclusion of whether or not GMOs should be required to be labeled on packaging. However, I believe that the introduction of GMO labeling will cause all sorts of chaos. The average consumer does not know much about GMOs, what they are and how they benefit them. With the GMO label, this will put consumers in a state of panic because they will associate the label with a negative connotation that is often portrayed on social media platforms and through word of mouth. The implementation of GMO labels will also cause a rise in prices due to the need for new and improved labels – which will come at the consumers expense. Although consumers have a right to know how their food is processed, produced and get to them, I don’t believe that it is important for this label. GMOs have been proven by over 200 research studies to be safe for consumption, so why is there a need for this label? Theres not. Overall, this new label mandate would be a disaster that could easily be prevented.
Food labeling is something that is necessary and helpful in many situations, such as allergies or sensitivities. However, labels have been used as a sort of propaganda, in that if one label mentions being “_______-free,” the competing product is therefore implied to contain whatever this blank may be (gluten, sugar, steroids/hormones, GMOs, etc). It is important for products to be properly labeled, and I do believe that the public has the right to know what is in the products they are consuming, however there should be limitations. Certain items simply cannot contain gluten, or maybe dairy, and therefore labeling them this way should not be able to be used as a competitive marketing technique.
Consumers recently have become more interested in what their food contains more than ever before, which is good in that society wants to be healthier. However, in order for labels, especially GMO labels, to be beneficial to both society and the industry, education of the public is necessary. GMOs are an agricultural technological tool that have allowed agriculture to excel, and should not be demonized due to misunderstanding. I imagine that because of society’s insistence on labeling, companies will be pushed into GMO labeling in the close future. If so, I think it would be helpful to include educational information on the packaging as well, in hopes that the public will be more open when given more information.
Regardless of the laws placed on labeling, further education about GMOs is still necessary for people to get both sides of the story, and to fully understand what exactly is being offered to them so they can make an educated decision.
A hot button issue in today’s agricultural landscape is whether or not to label GMO’s in our food products. It is very difficult for me to have a strong opinion one way or another because I understand each side of the argument. On one hand I believe that consumers should have the right to know exactly what is in the products they are purchasing, especially a product they are putting into their bodies. I can recall feeling extremely upset to learn that lobbyists from major food production companies like Nestle and Kraft fought tooth and nail to prevent labeling legislation from being passed. The problem with GMO labeling is that it puts companies in a very difficult position that could cost millions of dollars. The truth is that there are already so many misnomers when it comes to food labeling and in general regarding how are food is produced. Additional labeling could very well create more confusion for consumers. Based on all the research that has been done on GMO products, scientists have yet to discover any negative health effects or risks attributed to biotechnology and GMO’s. I do not see a problem with companies advertising their products as non-GMO; however I personally do not believe that all products containing GMO’s should be required to include such information on labels. I do believe consumers should become more educated on GMO’s and the onus may fall on major food production companies to do so. Until GMO’s are proven unsafe in any fashion, there should be no labeling requirements.
The discussion of what to and what not to label is very controversial. There are many positive and negatives about labeling to the farmers, the public and the businesses.
As a fourth generation farmer myself, I believe that labeling promotes and hurts the agriculture industry. It hurts our industry by making consumers believe that without the label, it is not qualified. For example by adding a label that says “no added hormones” on a chicken breast, people believe that some ccommercially grown birds have hormones added in them. But since 1960’s the Food and Drug Administration put a regulation on the industry and we have not been able to use hormones on any bird commercially raised since then. Yet, the positive is that labeling allows farmers to be transparent in their practices.
For the public, labeling positively impacts them by allowing them to know what is in their food. It also helps with those who have allergies because they know what to avoid without having to do research themselves. But negatively the consumers are hurt because they are misguided with the labels. An example is have gluten free water or non-GMO bacon. Both of these obviously cannot contain that ingredient, but our consumers are uneducated about where their food comes from and what it takes to produce that product.
Some businesses truly take advantage of labeling. They know that the public is interested in being healthy, local, fresh, and much more. Therefore, they over label their item to grab the consumer’s attention, and once that consumer buys their product once, they typically will keep buying it. However, labeling restrictions that people are encouraging, such a labeling GMO or non-GMO on everything produced will hurt an industry. This will hurt them by billions of dollars, simply by the packaging.
I personally believe that labeling may be necessary for some labels, but I believe over labeling should be illegal as it is a marketing gimmick to consumers. With that in mind, I believe consumers should be required to take an agriculture class and learn more about their food, therefore they can be aware about what contains gluten and GMO’s for example as well as the practices farmers do to grow a safe and sustainable product.
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, corn etc… One of the biggest controversies in the food world today is determining whether food products containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled so. The argument for labeling comes down to the right to know: Consumers should be well informed of what’s in their food.
One of the cons of labeling food products that contain genetically modified ingredients is that the majority of consumers have no idea what GMO means or they see other products that are labeled Non-GMO so they think if a product is genetically modified it must be some terrible thing. Therefore, food manufacturers hesitate to label their products in fear that sales will go down. There needs to be outreach and educational programs for consumers to learn more about GMOs. This is tricky for food producers to do because consumers might not believe information that is coming directly from them.
Another reason food producers advocate for keeping GMO labels off food products is how expensive it would be for them to change their labels for maybe one or two states that require it. Also, adding genetically modified to a label suggests that the food might cause health problems. This is exactly what anti-GMO and organic food marketers want consumers to think. Labeling food products genetically modified will be more expensive for the company and if consumers don’t know what GMO means it provides no useful information to them
All the disadvantages aside, consumers should be well informed of what’s in their food. I firmly believe that food producers need to be open and honest about what they are putting in their food, it’s the first step in creating trust between them and the consumer. However, I do understand their hesitation, with so many consumers being uneducated it wouldn’t be a smart move, financially. Labeling genetically modified products might be what food producers need to show consumers that they want to create a stronger relationship by being transparent with the public knowing that it might affect their sales negatively.