Dear Next President,
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines GMOs as, “Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” This credible source explains food produced with modern biotechnology as something “that does not occur naturally.” Do people want to consume chemical laden food that is produced artificially? Even Michael Hansen, Ph.D., senior scientist at Consumers Union and an advocate for genetic engineering, admits, “...scientists around the world agree that GMOs have the potential to introduce allergens and create other unintended changes that may affect health.” Because foods produced with genetic modification are proven to be harmful to people, labeling genetically modified foods should be mandatory. GMOs should be labeled on every American product because people have the right to know exactly what they are consuming.
I believe that there should be mandatory GMO food labeling. The American people deserve to know exactly what they are putting into their bodies. The FDA, which claims that GMO food does not need to be labeled, sent out a reminder, “The agency is not aware of any valid scientific information showing that foods derived from genetically engineered plants, as a class of foods, differ from other foods in any meaningful way.” Although the agency says that there is no “meaningful” difference, what is the difference, then? Additionally, what do they have to hide? If there is nothing to hide from the American people, why doesn’t the FDA mandate GMO food labeling for the information of American consumers? Furthermore, I wonder what this “scientific information” is based on. The FDA doesn’t expand on that data. Mandatory food labeling would allow people who are affected by GMO foods to know what they are eating.
Since GMOs were introduced to the market in 1984, the amount of allergens has risen. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Organization, “This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children in the U.S.” As of 2012, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network reports, states that “the number of children with severe allergic reactions to peanut butter alone has tripled since 1997.” In addition, a WebMD article asserted that scientists and doctors don’t know why there has been such an increase. Last but not least, an ABC article reported that, “The Centers for Disease Control reports a 265 percent increase in hospitalization rates related to food allergic reactions among kids” and they mention the possibility of this inflation being linked to GMOs. I believe that the increase in allergic reactions has something to do with the GMO influence on the American food supply. And due to the globalization of our culture, this biotechnology has spread from our American shores to the rest of the world. That is also why other countries have made an effort to make sure people are aware about genetically modified products.
Mandatory labeling is in full effect in some states and the nation should pass sanctioned labeling laws, as well. The states of Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have already passed GMO labeling laws. Vermont passed the Denying American Right To Know (DARK) Act creating mandatory GMO labeling. At a global scale, sixty-four countries require GMO labeling and some four hundred companies lend support. Since 1997, the European Union has mandated GMO food labeling. It is time for the United States to follow, and according to consumer reports, more than ninety percent of Americans agree.
American citizens want GMO food labeling, as shown in the following polls. In a consumer report by “Just Label It” a company encouraging GMO labeling, “90% of women and 88% of men favor requiring labels.” In The Food Labeling Poll: 2008, “95% favored labeling.” Surveys conducted by The Washington Post and The New York Times reveal that “94% and 93%” of people back up labeling, respectively. People want to know what chemicals food companies are utilizing and they want GMO food labels. Since foods produced with genetic modification are shown to be harmful to not only insects and weeds but to people, as well, labeling GMO foods should be mandatory.
Mendota Heights, Minnesota