Why We Shouldn't Label GMO Foods

The crops are completely safe to eat. oticki/Shutterstock

While wanting to know what is in the food that you eat isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, the blanket labelling of foods which contain GMOs is essentially useless, some argue, as it tells the consumer almost nothing about the specific modification that has been done to the crops, and thus about their safety. All it does is fan the flames of “chemophobia,” or the irrational fear that all chemicals in food are by their very nature bad. 

And the point is, the stigma that would become attached to GMO labeled foods could have further consequences. In 1997 GMO labelling became compulsory in the European Union, leading to many major brands removing GMO foods from their products. You might cheers at this as a good things and a sign that it could work in the US. But it also meant that as the crops required more water and more pesticides, among other things, and so food prices have also risen and for no health benefits whatsoever. Not only that, but it also drives a stigma to a technology that has benefited millions, if not billions of people in the developing world, and prevented countless famines.

You only have to look at the work of Norman Borlaug to see the benefits of GMO crops. Credited as the man who has saved the most number of lives (at least 1 billion), Borlaug started the Green Revolution that saw the spread of dwarf wheat to the developing world. This meant it was more resistant to drought, stood up to higher winds, and was less likely to collapse under the weight of the grain, leading to massive harvests and the prevention of famines across Africa and Asia.

With US law ruling that food should only be labelled as GMO if “there is a material difference – such as a different nutritional profile – between the GE product and its non-GE counterpart,” then it seems that there is little legal backing to the wide-scale labelling and next to no scientific backing.

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