Genetically modified foods have been around for some time, but the emphasis on being aware of these foods has recently grown in the consumer’s consciousness. Because of this, there has been a recent push to encourage food companies to label foods that have been genetically modified. This would allow consumers the chance to make their own decisions about what kind of foods they are ingesting every day. This is a primary issue in the United States, as some nations have already adopted GMO labeling.
By evaluating the pros and cons of this issue, Americans and others can decide if labeling genetically modified foods is the right course of action. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages being considered.
The Pros of Genetically Modified Food Labeling
1. It gives consumers information that they need to know.
By labeling all genetically modified foods in a food product, consumers will have more information about which ingredients could potentially be problematic for them. This can help to alleviate environmental concerns and potential health issues.
2. It would give consumers an added peace of mind.
Some people who follow orthodox religions have strict dietary requirements that genetically modified foods don’t fit into very well. Others have severe food allergies that would require the knowledge of genetically modified products in order to stay safe while they eat. The labeling would allow for everyone to purchase foods they can safely eat for what ever reason and avoid foods they cannot eat.
3. It would keep people better informed about their health.
When you eat enriched flour right now, do you understand how many vitamins and minerals have been added to the grains? Many people don’t realize how much they actually consume of certain items every day. Labeling GMOs would at least help consumers know what genetically modified items they were eating.
The Cons of Genetically Modified Food Labeling
1. It makes consumers think that genetically modified foods are bad.
Whenever a label appears on a food item, the vast majority of consumers interpret that label as a warning. For the most part, genetically modified foods are completely safe to eat. The simple act of adding a label could make consumers decide not to purchase of food product they regularly purchase any more.
2. There would be an added cost to every product. Adding labor to food products would create an added cost to the food manufacturer, which would then be passed on to the consumer. This would effectively penalize those consumers who don’t care about GMO labels because everyone would have to pay more for the food products on grocery store shelves.
3. It would require a complete segregation of food products.
In the United States especially, the distribution system is not designed for two primary categories of items. A new system to accommodate the needs of genetically modified foods and those that aren’t genetically modified would need to be created. This would take time and money.
Is genetically modified food labeling the right decision to make? By weighing the pros and cons of this subject, each community can decide on their own if it is worthwhile.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.