Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

This has probably been asked, cause it's pretty basic. BUT IF there isn't anything wrong with GMO products, than why the opposition to labelling them as such?? This IS a Democracy and we DO have the RIGHT TO KNOW!!! Playing GOD should NOT be something Man tries to do!

A:Expert Answer

Labeling is a popular topic on GMO Answers. Cathleen Enright, Executive Director of the Council of Biotechnology Information, has answered several questions on labeling. Here are excerpts from two of her responses that address your question.


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The US has a history of reserving the use of mandatory labels to convey information to consumers about the safety and nutrition of a product. We support mandatory labeling of food including GMO food, when a food raises a safety or health issue, for example, to alert sensitive populations to the potential presence of an allergen. But mandating a GMO label would tell the consumer nothing about a product’s safety or nutrition value.


As such, we cannot support mandatory labeling of a food just because it was produced with biotechnology. We believe this would convey to consumers that food made from crops grown by farmers who plant our seeds is somehow less safe, nutritious or of inferior quality to its non GM counterpart. Two decades of scientific study and regulatory review around the world simply do not support this.


That said, we agree completely with voluntary labeling of food, including for the presence or absence of GMOs. Such voluntary labels are often used by food manufacturers seeking to promote their product over another’s. But by law, such labels cannot be used to make claims that are false or misleading to consumers including about the safety of a product. Today, you can find voluntary, marketing labels, such as USDA Organic, being used to promote non GMO foods.


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We do support mandatory labeling of food, including GMO food, if such food presents a safety risk to a certain population, for example those allergic to a food ingredient. But there has never been any evidence linking a food safety or health risk to the consumption of GMO foods. There are hundreds of independent studies that demonstrate this (check out independent studies at BioFortified), in addition to the determinations from scientific and regulatory authorities around the world that GMO foods on the market are as safe and nutritious as their non GMO counterparts [see FDA information here]. There have been a few studies that have asserted such a risk exists but each of these studies has been found not to be credible, essentially “debunked” by the global scientific community….


As believers in GM technology, and having seen the benefits nurture farmers and society alike (check out GMOs and the Future of Agriculture), the harm comes from a label that conveys to consumers that food made from farmers’ crops grown with our seeds is somehow less safe or nutritious or somehow different from conventional or organic food. This is simply not the case. We believe a government requirement to label a food “GMO” would do just this, and a recent study conducted by an MIT professor supports this view [See Policy and Inference: The Case of Product Labeling].


Regarding your concerns of a religious nature, you might be interested in reading a response from Nick Brewin, Emeritus Fellow, John Innes Center, Norwich, UK and Honorary Professor, University of East Anglia, excerpted below:

It is interesting to note that people who eat bread today are eating genetically hybrid grain that has progressively been domesticated by primitive agriculturalists and plant breeders over thousands of years. Modern genetic analysis has revealed that one original parent of wheat was Triticum monococcum which is a wild large-grained grass related to today’s einkorn. The other parent was probably Triticum speltoides, which is related to today’s spelt wheat. About 10,000 years ago, these two parents combined to produce a hybrid variety and this tetraploid line eventually gave rise to 'emmer' which through further domestication gave rise to the durum wheats that are the basis of pasta and cuscous, today. Bread wheat originated from a further hybridization when emmer was crossed with another wild grass species, Triticum tauschi, probably in north west Turkey or Iran. The result was the hexaploid, Triticum aestivum, which contains three pairs of chromosomes instead of the usual one. Thus bread wheat was developed (unwittingly) by farmers who simply selected the best corn from one harvest and used it as the seed-corn for the next crop.

This example illustrates the fact that few if any of our food crops are the original wild or “natural” plant species because humankind has domesticated agricultural crops by selecting and crossing species for thousands of years to improve production and yield. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see all plant breeding as a form of “genetic engineering” and without it, we would never have survived. Interestingly, the region of Mesopotamia (between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates) was the “cradle of civilization” that gave birth to the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam: this region is also known as the “fertile crescent” in which many of our major crop plants were first developed through agriculture and plant breeding. God's grace has provided human agriculturalists and geneticists with skills to use for the benefit of others. However, as in the time of Leviticus, we must always try to combine technical knowledge with ethical wisdom in order to achieve beneficial outcomes in an ever-changing world.


The full response is available here:


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