93% Call for Labeling of GMO Foods

Source: Steve Meyerowitz, aka Sproutman: www.sproutman.com

According to an ABC News polls, 93% of Americans want genetically engineered foods to be so labeled. There are no U.S. laws requiring GMO labeling even though 70% of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients. Currently, only certified organic foods provide certainty that a food contains no genetically modified ingredients. Some savvy consumers have learned to analyze the PLU codes (price look-up codes, which are assigned for use with fresh produce that is sold loose, bunched, or in bulk as with an individual apple or a bunch of greens on those little stickers affixed to fruit and vegetables). Organically grown foods have PLU codes starting with the number 9 and five digits thereafter. Genetically engineered produce has a five-digit PLU prefaced by the number 8. Conventional produce has a four-digit PLU.

Genetic engineering is a very young science and very controversial. Many questions about its health and environmental safety exist because it alters the genetic (DNA) material of a plant (or animal) thus creating an organism with new, unknown characteristics. The level of unanimity among consumers is almost unheard in public- opinion polls. Consumers around the world don’t want to be guinea pigs and unknowingly munch on mutants. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a food-standard setting body backed by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, has been striving to create guidelines for genetically engineered foods. But the United States, the world’s largest GMO nation, has repeatedly thwarted such labeling efforts. Producers of GMO foods, a hugely wealthy and powerful lobby, don’t want the labeling because it makes them potentially liable for legal damages. And, it would dramatically reduce the overall production volume of GMO products. The bottom line: Consumers have the right to know what’s in their food. Stay tuned.

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