We absolutely do support the right of consumers to choose food that is healthy and nutritious. And although we do not sell food products directly to consumers, we support food companies’ decisions to voluntarily label food products for the presence or absence of GMOs, based on their customers’ choices. This type of marketing claim is often used to promote one type of product over another, and is unrelated to health or safety. Some companies have opted to voluntarily label food as “USDA organic” or “Non-GMO Project Verified” for their consumers who opt for food that is not made with GMOs.
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.
Examples of responses to two such studies can be found at:
- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637 - original paper and rebuttals. There is a single, comprehensive letter signed by about 20 scientists from all over the world in the list of letters on this website. The specific link for that letter is: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512007922
- http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2012/09/20/study-on-cancer-and-gm-maize-experts-respond/ – experts respond
- http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/04/26/when-media-uncritically-cover-pseudoscience/#more-11062 – scientific critique
- http://www.glyphosate.eu/news/response-glyphosate-task-force-study-published-journal-entropy – scientific critique
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].