When you consider that up to 94% of key U.S. crops such as corn, soybeans, and canola are genetically modified, it’s not surprising that more than 80% of the processed foods in the U.S. marketplace are likely to contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients.
But if you’re not sure that GM products are good for you or the environment, good luck trying to avoid them. Despite polls that indicate up to 93% of Americans want products containing GMOs to be labeled, U.S. laws don’t require it.
However, a new campaign, “Just Label It!” hopes to change all that. Campaign organizers have filed a legal petition with the FDA (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) asking the FDA to label GM foods. You can learn more about this campaign in the video below and sign the petition to require GMO labeling.
Why Label It?
Before the first GM seeds were ever planted in U.S. soil, the potential benefits and risks of GM crops were debated—and the controversy continues.
Proponents of the practice of genetically altering seeds to make them disease or herbicide resistant say GM crops reduce the cost of farming, increase crop yields and reduce the use of more harmful pesticide. All in all, GM crops are supposed to be better for humans and the environment.
Meanwhile GM opponents’ chief concern has been that the developers of GM seeds conducted little or no safety studies on the long-tem effects of GM crops on humans or the environment. Furthermore, without labeling, we are all unwitting test subjects in the GMO experiment.
Opponents of GM crops say they are not alone in their concerns and point to 30 other countries around the world (including much of Europe, Japan, Australia, and China) that severely limit or ban GMOs and over 50 countries that require labeling.
After over a decade of their use in the food supply many believe that GMOs have not only failed to live up to their promised benefits, they are also harming our health and the environment.
- Studies indicate that animals fed GM soybeans and corn led to liver and kidney problems, allergic reactions, stomach ulcerations, enzyme function disruption, growth problems, and problems with pancreas and testes function.
- GM crops can cross-pollinate with traditional crops thereby introducing their altered DNA and contaminate those crops.
- Some GM crops resistant to the herbicide Roundup are leading to the creation of “super weeds” resistant to herbicides.
- GM crops can “spread” their genetic traits to native wild plants, creating new problems for farmers.
- The use of GM crops have not led to significant increases in U.S. crop yields.
To learn more about the GMO controversy, read our in-depth article, You’re Already Eating Genetically Modified Foods: Are They Safe?
Just Label It
International Journal of Biological Sciences
GM Crops – Just the Science
World Health Organization