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Should We Label GMO Foods?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, All About Organics page, and our Safeguard Organic Standards page.


A hundred years ago, pretty much all of the food Americans ate was essentially organic and local - and not surprisingly, much more nutritious. But with the advent of Big Agra and industrialized food production, we moved towards a food supply heavily modified for higher yields and higher profits. First came pesticides, which U.S. farmers began using just after World War II. Then came genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The first genetically modified food crop was introduced in 1994, and since then, the introduction of new GMO crops has accelerated at an alarming rate.

Throughout these changes, very little consideration has been given to food labeling, and by and large, consumers have had no idea to what extent the food they buy is contaminated with pesticides or genetically modified. Ironically enough, we now label normal food as "organic" to separate it from pesticide-laden, genetically modified food, which requires no labeling at all.

Call me silly, but shouldn't it be exactly the opposite? Shouldn't organic foods be the norm, and adulterated foods have labeling requirements? For example, how would you feel about a box of cereal labeled as "GMO Corn Flakes" sitting on the shelf at your local grocery store? Would you buy an apple with a sticker that said "Grown using pesticides"? Maybe, but probably not. The fact is, 86% of the corn grown in this country has been genetically modified, so unless that box of cereal is labeled "non-GMO," chance are, it's full of GMOs. And according to the Pesticide Action Network's What's On My Food? Guide, multiple pesticides are found in the majority of conventionally grown apples. But you certainly won't see any of these things on a label.


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