Genetically modified foods raising concerns across the U.S.

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen February 10, 2012 0
Genetically modified salmon has been a concern for Californians.
Genetically modified salmon has been a concern for Californians.

Word is spreading about the risks associated with genetically modified (GM) foods. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, however, there are currently no requirements for GM products to be labeled as such on their packaging.

Recently, Americans have been speaking out against companies like Monsanto that play large roles in the production of GM goods. In a 2010 Washington Post poll, 94 percent of the more than 1,850 respondents said that any product with compromised DNA should be identifiable by consumers. With reports linking GM food to cancer and even an excruciatingly painful skin condition called Morgellons Disease, the overwhelming support of proper labeling on these goods comes as no surprise.

Ten years ago, the FDA decided that GM food did not require special labeling because it wasn't "materially" different from regular goods in that its distinction can't be noticed by any senses like taste or smell.

Politicians have stepped up to the plate on behalf of worried consumers though, and are calling for changes. Assemblymember Jared Huffman introduced the "The Consumer Right To Know Act, AB 88" to the Californian legislature based on concerns about GM salmon, which has yet to be approved by the FDA.

The bill was turned down, but on February 1, Representative Kate Webb introduced the "VT Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act" to the Vermont House of Representatives.

Even if the health risks associated with GM are being overstated, green lifestyle activist Wendy Gordon said that the producers of these foods should adopt labeling so they can promote their product as superior to natural alternative.

"If I just made a better salmon, I'd want people to know about it," Gordon wrote for the Huffington Post. "I'd want them to know that by adding just one gene from a Pacific Salmon to an Atlantic Salmon, I can bring you this [GM] salmon faster and cheaper and without overfishing its wild cousins."

While it may be some time before any bills affecting the production of GM goods are turned into laws, buying organic and locally grown food is one way that shoppers can confidently know what they're eating.

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