Consumers can’t find GMOs on food labels
So To Speak Joe Blundo
The Columbus Dispatch
Food manufacturers don’t want you to know what you’re eating. How 19th-century of them.
Consumer Reports magazine — which looks out for the public because our political system is too corrupt to do so — released a study this week on which foods contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
The answer: A lot of them.
The magazine says it found GMOs in packaged foods such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops, General Mills Corn Chex, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers.
- Products labeled “natural” have them. So do infant formulas.
Food manufacturers want to keep the information a secret, and no regulations require them to disclose it on labels. You can find out to the gram how much sodium you are consuming but not anything on the presence of GMOs.
GMOs refer to plants and animals that have been genetically engineered.
The genes of corn and soybeans, for example, are manipulated to withstand the herbicides that kill weeds. As noted by Consumers Union, the policy division of Consumer Reports, the same type of engineering has also involved moving “arctic-flounder genes into tomatoes, human genes into rice and spider silk genes into goats.”
That doesn’t sound natural to me.
Food-industry experts say their research shows that GMOs are safe to eat.
Our government basically takes their word for it. It does no independent testing — unlike some other countries, where both testing and labeling are routine.
Some studies have raised health concerns about GMOs, but the findings are disputed.
- Not in dispute is that people absolutely want to know what they’re eating. A survey by Consumer Reports found that 92 percent of Americans think foods containing GMOs should be labeled as such.
So why no labeling? Because the food and agriculture industries have enormous political influence, and you don’t.
Those industries know that consumers are suspicious of GMOs, so they spend lavishly to elect compliant legislators and fight labeling laws. They spent millions of dollars (to be fair, so did labeling proponents) to defeat ballot initiatives in California and Washington that would have required the disclosure of GMOs. They’re doing the same this fall to stop labeling in Oregon.
What is a consumer to do? Consumer Reports found the “organic” label to be a reliable indicator of an absence of GMOs. Where does that leave people who can’t afford to buy organic food? Without a simple way to determine exactly what they’re eating. Sound unfair? That’s just the way the food industry wants it.