There is an excellent website called Just Label It that I spent some time browsing through this morning and would encourage anyone who wants more information about the GMO labeling issue to visit. As much as I’ve been reading lately (as well as writing) about GMO’s, it was nice to come upon something that was new information – new at least to me, and I wanted to share with readers of this blog:
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to prevent consumer deception by clarifying that a food label is misleading if it omits significant, “material” information. In 1992 however, the FDA issued a policy statement that defined “material” by the ability to be sensed by taste, smell, or other senses. The FDA determined that GE Foods were “substantially equivalent” to conventionally produced foods, so there was no material difference – and no labeling was required. After almost 20 years, this policy is still in effect today.
For example, a salmon that is genetically engineered to produce hormones throughout the year is not, according to the FDA, materially different from a non-genetically engineered salmon because it does not taste, smell or feel different. And without a label to tell us differently, when eating salmon, we would not know if what we were consuming had been genetically altered.
Got that? Because we can’t detect it with our senses, genetically modified food does not need any labeling clarification. It’s a pretty insulting policy statement. The best I can determine, what they’re saying is, we don’t really want you to think about how your food was raised, or take the time to assess how the growing process impacts what you eat – just give it a little sniff, and if it tastes OK, well, then there’s nothing to worry about. This is literally comparable to kicking the tires when you’re looking to purchase a new car. Based on this criterion, it wouldn’t even be necessary to label food as organic. It doesn’t really taste, smell, or feel any different than conventionally grown food. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… this is why we can’t have nice things.
We have the right to know what’s in our food! I encourage you to visit Just Label It and sign the petition calling for the FDA to label genetically modified food.