The Breakdown on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

Whole Foods has received a lot of acclaim recently for announcing that it will be the first grocery store chain in the US to require labeling for Genetically Engineered (GE) foods. But don’t run out to your local Whole Foods quite yet. This change won’t take place until 2018. 

While Whole Foods has taken an important first step toward identifying genetically modified foods in its stores with clearly marked labels, this is not a new idea. The topic was first broached as early as the 1970s. A few decades later, a member of congress tried to pass legislation requiring GMO labeling. It stated that foods that were “materially changed” should be labeled because the public had “the right to know.” The bill did not pass due to overwhelming opposition from both government and industry, including the Food & Drug Administration. Proposition 37, an initiative that would require all genetically engineered  foods be labeled, met similar resistance in November 2012. 

Why exactly all the resistance? If you ask me, the reason for the lack of transparency in marketing GMO foods is pretty simple. As stated by Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, if foods are labeled as genetically modified you may choose not to buy them, and that would have a huge negative impact on the food industry.

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