July 25 2013
The Overlooked Side of the GMO Story
Carrie L. Lukas
Like many people, when I pop on Facebook, I often see friends posting health information or pseudo-health information. This infographic on the labeling of products containing genetically modified food is the kind of thing I see too often bouncing around, which suggests that GMOs are a bad thing and brags about winning the p.r. war against GMOs and for the cause of more government regulation.
Of course, Americans absolutely should be able to buy 100 percent organic or GMO-free products if they so choose. The good news is that there are organizations like this one that are there to help costumers sort out what is truly free of GMOs.
Yet that doesn’t mean that we need to push the government to intervene and impose yet another round of labeling requirements on all food producers. Such labeling requirements are costly and rarely impact consumer-decisions. If you are the type who is scouring the fine print for nutritional information and want to be GMO-free, you are likely already informed enough to look for 100 percent organic labels.
What is lost in too much of the conversation about GMOs is the reason why they are used in the first place: They make food-production easier, which increases yields on less land, making food less expensive and more available. Some innovations can even make foods more nutritious and vitamin-packed, which could be a huge step forward in reducing the malnutrition that continues to plague too much of the world. Moreover, GMOs have been used for decades, and studies have found no adverse impact on human-health.
When Americans hear these facts and the benefits of biotechnology, not surprisingly, they become more supportive of its use. Somehow, however, news and graphics highlighting these benefits don’t seem to be as popular as alarmism.