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  • jtrav21's picture
    jtrav21
    08.06.2013
    @The Man Above - based on your comments, I will assume you have a very limited level of familiarity with conventional food production supply chains and infrastructure, in particular as it relates to the most common GMO crops: corn and soy. End users of these commodity crops (namely wholesalers, restaurants, food brand owners, or the consumer) do not purchase seed from biotech companies, nor do they typically buy grains directly from farmers. Rather, farmers sell their crops to grain elevators which then mix and move large volumes of the grains around. You will find that very large grain processors then purchase and process these large volumes of grain into value-adding by-products (such as oils/fats, protein, and many forms of starch - as well as animal feed products). These materials are then sold on the open market to ranchers, meat producers, and food producers. The effort required to track each piece of grain and any downstream products (this would include any meat animals which are fed grain or animal feed, or any form of processed food or ingredient) that these go into would require a significant amount of effort to "preserve their identity". This would require the establishment of documentation policies to maintain a record of every action as the farm product is converted into the food products you see on the grocery shelf. Therefore, when you say: "If all GMO products sold by biotech companies are labelled as such, then it is obvious that buyers of the resultant crops will be aware of the crops' origins." - you are ignorant of the fact that our modern food industry simply does not work this way. Farmers know very well that they are buying GM seeds for GM crops. However, they are several steps removed from any relevant consumer packaging. Therefore, there are multiple parties which must handle and manage the grain as it is processed, many different lots of grains from farms across the world are mixed together as they are moved and processed, and it will require significant cost and effort to be able to identify what is GM and what is not - exactly the way organic crops and food ingredients must be tracked (and a big part of the reason organic foods are more expensive). I hope you see the distinction here, and that I am in no way being "disingenuous", but rather attempting to clarify and confirm what the original question is addressing. I believe it is disingenuous to claim that biotech companies or farmers are responsible for something they are not involved in: packaging and labeling of consumer food products. These are two very different groups of companies which face very different regulatory and legal requirements for their products.
  • The Man Above's picture
    The Man Above
    08.01.2013
    Theresa jtrav21 is being disingenuous; s/he knows exactly what you are asking and is only muddying the water. "Why are you addressing them?" indeed. The avoidance of pertinent questions is tactical. If all GMO products sold by biotech companies are labelled as such, then it is obvious that buyers of the resultant crops will be aware of the crops' origins. To be unaware of where their ingredients are sourced is not credible at best and, even worse, irresponsible.
  • Theresa Lam's picture
    Theresa Lam
    07.30.2013
    The answer to your question is so simple. It's the biotech companies that are fighting against the labeling.
  • jtrav21's picture
    jtrav21
    07.30.2013
    Theresa, Chipotle acknowledge themselves that this is difficult on their website comments about sourcing GMO-free ingredients. Food labeling requirements are based on the regulatory laws that are in place. These do not apply to biotech crop companies, so why are you addressing them? This website/initiative is being driven by biotech crop companies, not food companies. These companies do not produce, package, label or sell food products -- they are completely separate entities.
  • Theresa Lam's picture
    Theresa Lam
    07.30.2013
    You are right jtrav21. I do expect all foods that contain genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such. I don't think it is as complex as you think. Or maybe for you it is complex, but not for a good company like Chipotle: http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/ingredients_statement/ingredients_statement.aspx Why should they determine this? Please re-read my question.
  • jtrav21's picture
    jtrav21
    07.30.2013
    My guess is that all GMO products sold by biotech companies ARE labelled as such. Every farmer who buys GMO seed knows what they are purchasing. Are you referring to labeling of foods that include ingredients from GMO crops? That is a completely different part of the value chain, food production companies do not grow GMO crops...why should they have to determine where their ingredients are sourced from? Do you understand the complexity that would be required for that type of data tracking?