GMO labeling only causes more distortion in debate

GMO labeling only causes more distortion in debate

Kevin Griffin

Reacting to the growth of obesity and the change of American eating habits, the government has decided to implement a new food labeling system.

The new proposal centers largely on adjusting portion sizes and changing calorie and sugar content information, according to The Washington Post.

The new proposals do not touch on a contentious food issue that has captured the attention of many citizens, activists and even state governments: the presence of genetically modified organisms in food and whether or not they should be labeled.

Both Maine and Connecticut have passed measures mandating that Genetically Modified Organisms – or any food or food product that has been altered on the genetic level – be labeled. Nearly 30 other states are considering similar proposals, according to The Washington Post.

Now that the government is making a move to clarify public understanding of nutrition, it is a good time to address the GMO issue, which has been the cause of concern lately.

The purported dangers of GMOs are a myth of our time.

Numerous scientific bodies around the world have conducted studies on GMOs and found much of the same thing: GMOs pose no more risk than any other type of food.

The American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many other national and international scientific bodies, have concluded that GMOs pose little harm to consumers. Italian scientists published a review in Critical Reviews in Biotechnology September 2013 of nearly 1,800 studies, concluding ultimately that GMOs are safe.

Clearly, the science is on the side of GMOs.

One source of GMO hysteria was the September 2012 study conducted in France that showed rats developing tumors after consumption of GMO products. The study was later investigated due to problems with how it was conducted.

Food and Chemical Toxicology, the magazine that published the French study, retracted it in November 2013.

In announcing the new nutrition labels, Michelle Obama emphasized the necessity of the labeling to help consumers better understand what is in the food we eat so that consumers can make informed decisions, according to The Washington Post.

I agree completely. Food labels should provide accurate information of the risks of certain foods and provide necessary information to consumers.

Food labels ought to enlighten, not deceive.

Labeling GMOs would do the opposite. It would only further distort the public’s already flawed view of the subject.

Kevin Griffin, a sophomore journalism major from Madison, is an opinion writer.