There's Nothing Parochial About the Issue of GMO Food Labeling

Latham, Jonathan
Date Written:  2017-01-24
Publisher:  Independent Science News
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20405

A criticism of the notion that the issue of labelling GMO foods is too narrow in focus, detailing the complexities of the issue and arguing for the broader importance of labelling.



The first issue is that GMOs are legally distinct from non-GMO crop varieties. They possess an enhanced legal status that has enabled GMOs to become a gushing profit centre for agribusiness. These rights not only allow their owners to steer farmers' herbicide use, which also increases profits, they can also legally prevent independent research which would otherwise show up their advertising claims. The share price of Monsanto reached $142 in 2008, reflecting the enormous profitabilitys of massively increasing seed prices on the back of GMO introductions.


The question, however, was labeling. Imagine that organic food was not allowed to be labeled. Would there be such an organised and powerful challenge to industrial food? What labeling does for the agriculture and food system is to allow the public to express its dismay and disagreement with the direction of corporate agriculture and assert their democratic rights to protect themselves. Labeling allows the public to engage with specific policies and products within the vast complexity of the food system and push back in a focused way against corruption and dishonesty, in real time. There aren't too many chances to do that in America today.

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