There has been debate in the United States of America as to whether to label Genetically Modified (GM) foods or not. The proponents of the debate argue that the genetically produced food has negative impact on the human health making it a gradual killer of human beings. The opponents of labeling of the GM foods like the biotechnology, industry says that the GM foods decrease crop diseases increasing food production hence global food security. The proponents of labeling GM foods further point out on the importance to have consumers exercise their right of choice. The opponents of the labeling further argue that there is no significant difference between the two types of food but then why are there movements against the GM foods? Why do the industries oppose the move of labeling them as it does not affect their sales but only gives the consumers the option to choose? Those that oppose the labeling of the GM foods may be doing so in the fear of losing financial performance in the market. They are not interested in the right of consumers to decide what they opt is the right choice. To allow consumers make their choice GM foods must be labeled.
An interview by the Washington Post Newspaper with Walter Robb, Texas-based chain’s co-chief executive, outlines the need for labeling of GM foods and let the consumers make a choice. “ Robb: Label GMO Foods and see what sells,” appeared in the business column, page G03, of the Washington Post on 17th March 2013. Dennis Brady. The article by Dennis highlights Whole Foods Company and its decision to label the GM foods and let the consumers make their own say in making their choices.
The consumers should have a say on what they eat by being allowed to decide what to consume between organic food and genetically produced food. Whole Foods made the move after considering the concerns of health activists as well as consumer groups. The two have over time questioned the effects that GM foods have on the human health. This shows that as much as some companies oppose the move to label GM foods, there is something the matter with the genetically produced foods. The biotech industry says that the GM foods decrease crop diseases increasing food production hence global food security. According to Dennis, there was a narrow defeat of Proposition 37 in an attempt to have GM food labeled (1). Dennis illustrates the conversation with Robb; Robb says that they listened to the desires of their customers to have the GM foods labeled over the years and reached the move to label their products (1-3). Despite the opposition and criticisms from opposing companies and other players Robb defended the Whole Foods move, “ We think this is the right thing to do, make no mistakes about it.” Robb stated that, “ The fact is, the science is very mixed. Science can be trotted out in both directions.” The argument therefore here is that scientific support for the GM foods that mean the food has no effect on the human body.
Labeling of GM foods should be overlooked beyond financial means, and it is a matter of honesty and proper practices that food companies should exercise. As Dennis points it out, Robb explained that, “ As we began to look at our position, I think it became clear that this was a step that we needed to take. Fundamentally, (customers) were right about the fact that food should be labeled so that they had the right to choose,” (2). Dennis believes that the ballot measure in California by Proposition 37 failed to go through since it was partly opposition funded by Mosanto, a GM food company (1). Mosanto and other companies do not consider the rights of the consumers to have their right to decide, rather they fear financial loss. That is why they have heavily funded for advertisements and campaigns against the labeling of the GM foods. They should follow the step Whole foods have taken to sell all varieties of food and let consumers choose what they want. Just like the companies have the right to sell what they choose, so do the consumers of their products.
Pollack Andrew wrote on the New York Times’ “ After Loss, the Fight to label modified Food continues” on 8th November 2012; outlining the efforts of determined advocates for Proposition 37 to have the GM foods labeled. The article was published on the business column and highlighted on the Web on 5th April 2013. An election was held for labeling GM foods and suffered a narrow defeat by 6. 4 percent. Opinion polls had earlier projected the initiative to win by 60 percent but opposing advertisements by biotechnology companies had reduced the projection significantly. After the defeat, the proposing group vowed to go on with their initiative up to the federal government level.
The proponents for labeling of GM foods are determined in their efforts and nothing will bar them from attaining their objective. It is the best way out of the debate that GM foods will be labeled to differentiate them from the organically produced ones. This will ensure that the consumers make their own choices regarding what they consume. They have a right to make choices own their own rather than the suppliers and retailers of food making the decision for them. Biotechnology companies oppose the labeling of the GM foods because they feared the fall in sales of their products and not the heath of the human consumers. “ That is because food companies, fearing that some consumers would shun products labeled genetically, would insist reformulating their products to avoid such ingredients.”
The proponents further argued on the importance to have consumers exercise their right of choice. The opponents of the labeling further argue that there is no significant difference between the two types of food but then why are there movements against the GM foods? (Pollack 1) The consumers should be allowed to decide what they want to eat. According to Pollack, the advocates for Proposition 37 resolved to take the debate to Washington in an effort to have it as a law-labeling of GM foods (1). Gary Hirshberg, a chairman of an organic yoghurt company vowed, “ We think that attention is now going to shift back to Washington, with a whole lot more to discuss and a whole lot more people interested” (2). Labeling of food should be mandatory and this move is geared towards the achievement of the same.
Major Todd of the North Shore News on the 19th December of 2012 wrote an article, “ NY Times OP-ED Fuels Organic Food Debate”; explaining the Stanford University research of 40 years showing that organic fruits and vegetables as being nutritious than Genetically produced ones. The article appeared in the news section, Dig deep page 15. The study sparked a bog debate between the proponents of labeling and those opposing the labeling of GM foods. The proponents believe the GM foods are causing death to human beings gradually every time they take dinner. The opponents on other side believe that GM foods will help feed billions of people on the world.
The genetically modified food has raised controversy between the two sides of the debate with the opponents sheltering under the umbrella that they are feeding the hungry world. According to Major, the New York Times Op-ed columnist thinks, “ Organic has long since become an ideology, the romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it and oblivious” (1). The ever increasing controversy about the food has raised questions as to who is saying the truth who is acting to the own personal interest of securing the market share. Major presents Donna De Viney of Soilent arguing that, “ Organic farmers like me gladly sell our products to restaurants and grocery stores. We have to make a living too. The slightly higher prices offset the admittedly higher labor hours needed not to poison ourselves, our customers and the planet,” (2). This statement indicates that it is the money issue rhythm that the opponents of the GM foods dance to rather than the effect it has on the health of human beings. The consumers have the final say on this debate by being allowed to decide what to consume; organic food or genetically produced food. The article author proposes they should be given the opportunity to make their own choices.
Arguing as per the view point of those opposed to the labeling of GM foods, it is reasonable to save the lives of world citizens starving of hunger. The argument is for high yields from the genetically manufactured food against the organically produced foods. Genetically produced foods in fact are less prone to plant diseases and pests assuring us a higher and constant supply food. It would be wise to see billions starve to death of hunger when their lives can be extended by giving them genetically produced. The of GM foods are easily produced in the dynamic climate conditions with the changing of the climate and high population reducing the area available for organic farming that takes time. The genetically food is easily produced and matures within a short period of time as compared to the organically produced food that traditionally take a long time to mature. Those that support GM foods argue that there is no meaningful difference between the genetically produced foods and organically produced. The ignorable differences can be ignored and hence produce high yields that will help save lives of starving citizens of the world. The world will have sufficient food security and this will contribute to greater economic performance. Agriculture will undergo a transformation and production costs will be greatly reduce considering the reduced number of plant disease and consequently reduced number of pesticides will be bought.
In conclusion, GM foods must be labeled to offer consumers with an opportunity to make a choice as to what they should eat. Despite the higher prices of the organically produced food, labeling the Gm foods does not make them expensive too. It only enables people to look into the budget and decide what they should consume being aware both sides of the debate. The consumers have the final say on this debate by being allowed to decide what to consume between organic food and genetically produced food. The biotechnology industry says that the GM foods decrease crop diseases increasing food production hence global food security. However, this point of argument does not consider the impact the GM foods have on the human health. The impact is negative and will contribute to death by acting as a slow poison to human life.
Science can be biased to any side of the debate depending on what scientists intend to prove. The scientific benefits are not sufficient enough to sacrifice human lives. The plants diseases can be dealt with through other grounds and still have the human beings. Organically produced food is healthier and sustainable as compared to genetically produce food. It will support GM foods on the base that it reduces plant diseases increasing food production without considering human life. The best way out of the debate is that GM foods must be labeled to differentiate them from the organically produced ones. This will ensure the consumers make their own choices regarding what they consume. They have a right to make choices own their own rather than the suppliers and retailers of food making the decision for them.
Major, todd. “ NY Times OP-ED Fuels Organic Food Debate.” North Shore News. 19 Dember, 2012: 15. Lexis Nexis. web. 5 April, 2013.
Dennis, Brady. “ Robb: Label GMO foods and see what sells.” Washington Post. 17 March, 2013: G03. Lexis Nexis. web. 5 April 2013.
Pollack, Andrew. “ After Loss, the Fight to label modified food Continues.” New York Times. 8 November 2012: B4. Lexis Nexis. web. 5 April 2013.
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