GMO Labeling are you Pro or Con

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When it comes to labeling food is there such a thing as too much?  GMO Labeling are you Pro or Con – how do you pick a side?

Labels can be overwhelming, which may be why I’m not a label reader.  I also realize that I don’t have to be-my family doesn’t suffer any food allergies or have health problems that require a special diet, but as a producer labeling is something I keep my eye on in the news!

Do you ever not know which side of the table you are supposed to sit on?  It happens to me a lot – I ask a question, see answers from both sides and find myself nodding in agreement…..with everyone!

Recent labeling attempts by states such as Oregon and Colorado failed.  But not with an overwhelming majority for or against labeling, both were very close.

Even within agriculture, there are arguments on both sides of the GMO labeling debate.  If we as an industry cannot agree on what information is needed on a label, how can we expect a consumer to not be confused?

GMO Labeling are you Pro or Con

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Do GMO’s look different growing?

Can you tell if this is GMO or non?

Do products made from GMO taste different?

I decided to try social media for answers.  Within moments I had many responses, many good arguments for and against GMO labeling.

GMO Labeling are you Pro or Con

“I am pro-voluntary labeling, like is done for gluten-free products because a mandatory label signals a safety or nutrition difference and most GMO’s don’t have a difference there.  I think most of the efforts we have seen have amounted to a warning label and the FDA has looked at all this in great detail and found no warnings are needed.”  Janice Person, consumer, advocate and Monsanto employee

“Con until the correct info is out there and understood by the consumer.  If that were to happen it would be a pro so everyone can make their own food choices.”  Matthew Boucher, farmer

“Con, I just can’t get past labeling a process, especially a well tested and safe one.  Products don’t carry a label saying they were produced by any other breeding technique so why start now.”  Peggy Greenway, farmer

But I think my good friend, self proclaimed policy junkie, mom and blogger-both food and farm, Leah Beyer, said it best:

“Nutritional labels are used to help people make nutritional decisions and avoid ingredients they are allergic to.  GMO’s have the same nutrition and no separate allergies.

The marketing labels are just that – Marketing!.  If it is GMO free there will be a marketing label to tell you.

In retrospect we should have printed a ‘may contain GMO’ statement like they do with soy, dairy, peanut, etc.  It would have not been a big deal and something consumers are used to seeing and not being scared of today.”

But I am still left with questions.  What percentage of food in a grocery store would have to be labeled?  Would a restaurant have to label dishes that include GMO ingredients?  And how much would this cost all of us consumers to have this labeling done?

I hear from farm people and I already know how the ‘squeaky wheel’ feels, but where does the average consumer stand?  Are they more confused than I am?  How much of the story are they getting, and are the sources reliable?  And does the general public even know what a GMO is?

As a consumer and a producer I’m still confused!  So to answer the question: GMO Labeling are you Pro or Con?  I just want to be able to sit at the same table, understand what’s going on and discuss it like rational adults.

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