A Review of the Facts behind the movement to label
Genetically Modified foods have been an unavoidable spotlight in the news lately. More specifically, GMO labeling has been the focus of a lot of the buzz going around. Genetically Modified foods held a lot of promise to efficiently and affordably feed households around the nation for a fraction of the cost as GMO-free foods. Many years later when the initial excitement died down, environmental organizations and public interest groups have been actively protesting against these GM-foods. Questions have been raised as to the harmful effects of these non-traditional breeding methods for food. We as the consumers have every right to information on what exactly is in the food we are eating.
GMO’s: What You Need To Know Is Half The Story.
A Review of the Facts Behind the Movement to Label
Over the last 20 years, the growing science of genetic engineering has been quietly integrated into food-filled cabinets and refrigerators. The American public has been largely kept in the dark regarding the processes behind our food production, seeming to have a blind faith in our government, and assuming that our best interests are being served. After all, the United States Food and Drug Administration’s motto is ‘Protecting and Promoting Your Health,’ according to their website. In recent years, however, public awareness of genetic engineering has risen sharply, alarming citizens, and giving way to a strong desire to know exactly what we are eating. As questions rapidly mount, opposition to providing answers becomes stronger and more elusive. The United States government does not require labels to declare if ingredients are genetically engineered, although most of the foods purchased here today are made with GMO’s, or “Genetically Modified Organisms” (Just Label It!, 2012). The time has come to demand foods be labeled “GMO”, or “Non-GMO”, a position research necessitates after considering the following:
1. An Introduction to the World of Genetic Engineering
2. Realizations Come About
3. The Promises Which Have Failed Us
4. Why We Need To Label, Now!
The products bought and sold in grocery stores have been entwined with genetic modification for a two decades, and it has been a slow realization for Americans. There is much to be gleaned by the everyday consumer, but as knowledge catches up, many people are putting their foot down to GMO’s.
An Introduction to the World of Genetic Engineering
“GE,” “GM” and “GMO,” are currently some of the most controversial letters in the alphabet. Terminology relating to the science of genetic engineering is vast and confusing to the every-man, yet learning about these terms has become essential. The standard term used in the United States, is “GE,” an abbreviation for “Genetically Engineered,” which is described as “...a process in which foreign genes are spliced into a non-related species, creating an entirely new organism.” (Cummins & Lilliston, 2000, p. 2). Another common abbreviation is “GM,” meaning “Genetically Modified,” and can be used interchangeably with “GE” as it has the same definition. A “GMO” is the actual “Genetically Modified Organism” that is created. Foods created by using the aforementioned, have a variety of terms including: “Biotech foods, gene-foods, bioengineered foods, gene-altered foods, transgenic foods.....,” and lastly, adding some comic relief, “frankenfoods.” (Cummins & Lilliston, 2000, p.2).
Note. Visual adapted from Green Acres Farm.org, (n.d.), retrieved from http://www.greenacresfarm.com/media/frankenfood_large.jpg a The visual is a satirical cartoon, defining the term “Frankenfood” as it relates to public perception of genetically modified foods.
Fueling the controversy over food labeling, is simply fear of the unknown. A large percentage of foods sold today are made with