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ARTICLE: The high price of food labels

The following is an excerpt of a blog post on the website SciMoms discussing various aspects of food labels, focusing on the cost organic and non-GMO labelled food. 

If you’re like me, grocery shopping is both a pleasure and a struggle. I love to see which fresh produce and fancy cheeses are available! But meal planning is a challenge when your household contains one adventurous vegetarian (that’s me!) and two choosy eaters. Our grocery budget can get a bit out of control as I’m trying to meet each person’s needs and wants. Still, things could be a lot worse. I could be buying foods with organic or non-GMO labels.

What do organic and non-GMO labels even mean?

Farmers and manufacturers can gain organic certification if they follow certain processes related to how they grow crops and process foods. Organic is commonly touted as pesticide-free, but organic farmers have a list of pesticides they may choose from. Conventional agriculture may use any registered pesticide, and may use any approved genetically engineered crops (commonly called genetically modified organisms or GMOs). Whether you choose organic or conventional, there is no need for concern about pesticide residues, particularly for products grown in the United States.

While academics and government agencies debate the definition of GMO, for many people the meaning is simple. GMO signifies all they want to avoid about modern agriculture. That’s an unfortunate point of view, because biotechnology is simply a breeding process that can be used in any farming system. Decades of research have found the process of genetic engineering to be safe, and consumer concerns about GMOs are largely unfounded.

To read the entire blog post, please visit the SciMoms website