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The Problem With G.M.O. Labels

Health & Wellness  (tags: GMOs, Genetically Modified Foods, GMO Labeling, Human Health, Environment, Risks, Safety, Science, Scientific Consensus )

- 314 days ago -
"People have a right to know what is in their food."Yet there is another, equally compelling truth: the overwhelming scientific consensus demonstrates that foods containing GMO's pose no greater risks than any other food."

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Stephen D. (54)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:20 pm
The problem with the gmo labels is that they can be avoided more easily which means $ales will bite the dust.
I find it sad the people that money can buy. I see no scientific proof in the article whatsoever. Perhaps they should read the article on alternet about the fatal kidney disease epidemic in central,south america and india linked to gmos and the accompanying poison spray. noted. ty Brian

Brian M. (211)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:33 pm
From the article: "A few weeks ago, I stood behind a woman at a farmers’ market in the Hudson Valley. There was a wide selection of apples, a bit unusual so early in the year, and the woman asked the farmer if any were “G.M.O. apples.” He looked surprised and said no. She was not assuaged. “How do you know?” she said sharply. ” How can you be sure?” “He knows because genetically modified apples don’t exist,” I said. “There are none in the orchards and none in the stores.” She turned to me, squinted, and said, “Then don’t you think they should have a label saying so? That way we could at least eat them without worrying.”

Brian M. (211)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:34 pm
Continued: "Americans are spending a lot of time worrying about what is in their food. This is understandable, given that so much of it is laden with sugar, highly processed flour, and saturated fat. In polls, an overwhelming majority of respondents say they want foods with genetically engineered ingredients to be labelled, and most people add that they would use those labels to avoid eating such foods. Dozens of bills have been put before the legislatures of more than half the states. Vermont and Connecticut have already enacted labelling laws, and many more are likely to follow."

Natasha Salgado (628)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:27 am
I don't trust any labels. What's to say GMO labeling isn't exactly like the organic or free range egg labels which are totally false+misleading...thanks Brian

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 12:48 pm
This guy did zero research and zero critical thinking to reach his conclusion, it must be nice to go thru life with rose colored glasses such as he must be wearing.

Can anyone else think of other labels that are unnecessary on food? I'm wondering if we really need to know if juices are made from concentrate, I mean, what's the difference :/

Joanne Dixon (42)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:55 pm
You know, even if it were true and provable that the gene modification process was not problematic, which I don't believe for an instant, but grant it for the sake of argument. What about the increased use of ever stronger herbicides and pesticides that the modifications are done to enable the modified organism to withstand? We end up having to eat those poisons - and WE have not been modified to withstand them.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:59 pm
Pesticide use is actually one fifth what it was in 1995; the problem with pesticides is the particular type of pesticides that many growers are using.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 2:00 pm
From the article: "Who, after all, wants to stand in the way of transparency? As John Mackey, of Whole Foods, the temple of organic consumption in America, has said, “People have a right to know what is in their food.” He is right, of course. Yet there is another, equally compelling truth to consider: the overwhelming scientific consensus, based on hundreds of independent studies, demonstrates that foods containing currently available G.M.O.s pose no greater health risk or environmental concern than any other foods."

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 2:01 pm
Continued: "Americans demand labels, at least in part, because they are afraid. And they are afraid because of the kinds of assertions made by people like Vandana Shiva, an Indian activist whom I profiled this week in the magazine. Shiva and her allies talk constantly about dangers of G.M.O.s that are not supported by facts."

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 2:02 pm
More: "G.M.O. labels may be a political necessity, but they make no scientific sense. Most of the legislation that has been proposed would require a label that says something like “produced with genetic engineering.” Almost none of the labels would identify any specific G.M.O. ingredient in any particular food. In fact, the laws now proposed are so vague that many of the foods in a grocery store would have to carry a label. They would tell you how your food is put together, but not what it contains. How could that help anyone make a sound decision about his health?"

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 2:03 pm
About the author of the article: "Michael Specter has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998, and has written frequently about AIDS, T.B., and malaria in the developing world, as well as about agricultural biotechnology, avian influenza, the world’s diminishing freshwater resources, and synthetic biology."

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:52 pm
I've just done some research on Michael Specter, his premise seems to be that those of us who are anti-GMO are anti-science. He is wrong. We are not anti-science, many of us who are anti-GMO actually know how to read scientific papers and understand them.

What we are is partially anti genetically modified technology, specifically the technology that allows the patenting of seeds and the spraying of chemicals on crops that feed people and animals to mention just a few problems with this technology.

This technology has never been about feeding the hungry, but only about massive profits for the Genetic Industrial Complex.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:55 pm
After twenty years of common production in the environment and consumption by the public, GMO's have failed to produce the two-headed babies, the tens of millions of tumor ridden bodies, the devastation to the environment, or any of the other fabrications that the hysterical new-Luddites proclaimed would result. The problem with GMO's isn't the science or the's all about the profits.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:56 pm
Since the introduction of GMO's, the overall amount of pesticide sprayed in the US has dropped to 1/5th the amount sprayed in 1995.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:58 pm
From the article: "All breeding—whether mixing varieties of apples or crossing types of orchids—modifies genomes. There is no other reason to do it. And all the food we eat has been modified in some way—either by nature or by humans. Conventional techniques, often simply a random mixing of genomes, are not necessarily safer than engineering. Nor is mutagenesis, a process in which mutations and variations are induced by radiation or chemicals."

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:59 pm
Continued: "Let’s concede that politics is going to trump science on this issue, and that labelling is inevitable. (And it is not necessarily wrong for concerns about openness to take priority over science.) But we need a uniform standard, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not dozens of them set by different state laws. So far, a federal standard has seemed unlikely—largely because officials at the F.D.A. have no desire to put labels on products unless there is a clear scientific reason to do so, as there is with tobacco. Warning labels on cigarette packs save lives. What can we expect to get out of such labels on engineered foods?"

Nelson Baker (0)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 4:50 pm
Noted. I believe they should be labeled as GMO and the reason why they are GMO.

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 5:03 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new report detailing sales and usage of pesticides in the U.S. for the years 2006 and 2007 and showing a modest decrease in pesticide use. The report compiles data from EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other sources in order to track pesticide trends and monitor usage. Previous industry use reports had been published every two years between 1994 and 2001; however, the last report was published ten years ago, in 2001, leaving a gap in the data.

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 5:12 pm
"After twenty years of common production in the environment and consumption by the public, GMO's have failed to produce the two-headed babies, the tens of millions of tumor ridden bodies, the devastation to the environment, or any of the other fabrications that the hysterical new-Luddites proclaimed would result."

And we'll never know because testing is done by the industry producing GMOs and any independent studies are few and far between and always vilified by the pro-GMO cartel.

Also, industry studies have been limited to 90 day feeding trials in rats, which isn't even their entire life cycle. And while animal testing is a fair indicator of possible harm to humans, it doesn't necessarily translate to possible human harm. 20 years of GMOs and we're seeing a decline in the teen birth rate and no one knows why...

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 5:15 pm
"But we need a uniform standard, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not dozens of them set by different state laws."

The FDA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Genetic Industrial Complex, THAT is why it will be up to individual states to require labeling.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:12 pm
Oh yes, the Genetic Industrial Complex...the Illuminati of Genes...the Six Headed Beast arisen from the Triple Hydra of Hilarity...yes, Conspiracy Theorists always concoct all kinds of super secret entities to explain why their pet theories are right and everyone else is wrong. But magical thinking is no substitute for science. Oh, and if all else fail, everyone that, based upon the science, disagrees with the primitivist perspective is to be considered a de facto shill of the Super Evil Entity du jour.

There has been no dramatic rise in the cancer rate, which could be independently confirmed without any reference to the super secret evil conspiracy whats-it, because in point of fact, the rate of cancer is going down. Testing that shows no evidence of horrible catastrophe has to be discounted because, of course, it's not relevant to maintaining the proper level of public agitation. And, oh what a horrible nightmare, the teen birth rate is down...never mind that most studies indicate that more teens are avoiding risky behavior and those that indulge are taking greater responsibility and using contraception. Yes, alert the media...the teen birth rate is must be those nachos that their parents ate at Taco Bell in 1996.

There's always a reason why no harm is found...the evil industry is concealing the evidence...the gov't is co-conspiring with aliens...all the scientists who say there is no evidence of harm because there is no harm are corporate shills...and nobody can believe anything coming out of the UN. Who could possibly believe that the most probable reason GMO's don't appear to be causing harm is because, after twenty years in the environment and the food supply, there is no harm to be found. The conspiracy theorists swear that one day there is going to be a huge body pile, but there's always some reason why that body pile hasn't started adding up to any size at all today.

Hysteria is a tool being used against the poorly educated for the profit of some...that's the conspiracy at which people need to look. The anti-GMO are being played for someone's profit...and it's not the usual suspects.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:15 pm
From the article: "Activists speak loudly about consumer choice, but many of them want, ultimately, to ban the products of agricultural biotechnology. In the United States, that would be foolhardy and pointless—but not much more than that. What happens in this country, though, will affect the work of scientists everywhere. This kind of crop will be necessary to help feed the ten billion people that will inhabit this planet by the end of the century."

Kathy B. (105)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:04 pm
That feed the masses line is long dead Brian, we already produce enough food to feed that many people and more. Part of the problem is distribution (things like rice rotting in Indian storage because it cost more to distribute it than to let it rot) then there is the estimated 30 - 40% that is wasted - meaning thrown in the trash. Be it not quite perfect produce seen as unfit for consumption, or being thrown in the trash because the consumer has let it rot.

And Brian, look at Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta etc. profit before you start casting stones at the anti-GMO movement.

Calling a person hysterical is not a wise way to win an argument. It just proves that you really don't have an argument.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:49 pm
Yes, because we can only cast stones at the bogeymen that you choose, right? Your arguments are based upon conspiracy theory and conjecture, but they're right because you're always right, right? Calling someone hysterical is neither wise nor is merely the truth if someone is screaming that the sky is falling when such is not the case.

Brian M. (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:50 pm
From the article: "Since this kind of statement is often purposely taken out of context, let me be clear: genetically engineered products are not magic. They will not by themselves feed the poor or heal the sick. But the world needs crops that demand less from the environment and provide more nutrition, using less water, on the same amount of land. Without relying on progress and the advance of science, as we have for centuries, it’s simply not going to happen."

Julie W. (27)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 4:56 am
Brian M, I'm quite capable of reading the article myself - I don't need it repeated in your posts. What is the point of that? Other than gaining 100 points?

As a counterpoint to the article, read this:


Brian M. (211)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 2:02 pm
Thanks for your concern, Julie W. Please go to "Can GMOs Help Feed a Hot and Hungry World?" @ It may help educate on the food crisis that this world is facing due to Anthropogenic Climate Disruption.

Brian M. (211)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 2:08 pm
Actually, I have known a number of Care2 users, most often when they are new to the site, who don't understand to click the link and go to the article. So, they read only the blurb and frequently misstate opinions based upon incomplete information. Also, many C2NN news vetters post articles in their entirety precisely for the reasons I mentioned. I am hardly unique. So, in essence, your point is moot.

And, regarding my points, maybe Care2 is nothing but a points game to you living in a fancy house, eating steak, and driving a gas-guzzling SUV around town; maybe you don't give a tinker's damn about the environment or human health or the future of life on this planet...BUT I WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR THE ACRES OF RAINFOREST THAT I SAVE OR THE TREES THAT I PLANT OR THE CO2 THAT I REMOVE FROM THE ATMOSPHERE BY WAY OF EARNING POINTS AND REDEEMING THEM ON CARE2.

Some people at Care2 actually care about the world. It's too bad the same can't be said about you. Now move along, troll.

Kathy B. (105)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:57 pm
Brian, you can't have it both ways. You can not call yourself an environmentalist and be supportive of industrial agriculture.

Brian M. (211)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:50 pm
Kathy, you can't call yourself an environmentalist and deny the extreme hardship that climate change is going to bring to the human species. GE technology isn't about industrial agriculture; it's about survival for humanity.

Penny C. (81)
Wednesday August 27, 2014, 7:39 am
Thanks Brian.
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