Who will Win the GMO Debate?
We’ve all heard the news – labeling genetically modified organisms in food and other products has been a hot-button issue for politicians, farmers, and citizens alike. Many petitions have been signed, for and against labeling, and bills have been proposed and defeated. Still, the public debate continues. It is clear this is not going away, but with little ground gained in actual policy, Americans are wondering who will actually win this fight.
It is impossible to know what will happen over the next few years, but there are some strong indicators coming from both sides of the debate. First, there are several states that are have proposals and measures in the works that will require labeling GMOs. There are even three states, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, who have passed these laws. You can find a great map of progress this legislation is making on The Wall Street Journal’s recent web article on this topic.
Also, there are companies who have taken the initiative to begin cutting out genetically modified ingredients. Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream are two high-profile companies who have said publically that they will phase out the use of GMOs over a period of time. Some companies’ products are made completely without genetically modified organisms, including many products at Whole Foods under their 365 Everyday brand, Sprouts’ organic Mac & Cheese dinner, and all of our own very special Medicine Mama’s products. To search for some verified non-GMO products, visit The Non GMO Project’s web page.
Other than companies and some states leading the way in labeling and quitting the use of these products, it is also clear that many Americans are calling for labeling at the very least so that they can make educated choices about where to shop and what to buy. There have been several polls taken that indicate most Americans wish to have their products labeled for GMOs, and you can view some of them on the Center for Food Safety website.
As for the other side, there are plenty of Americans, including some powerful politicians and large agricultural companies, who are completely against even the labeling of these organisms. Despite large numbers of consumers who vote and petition to have these products labeled, Big Agriculture and its lofty connections have done a great job at keeping this from being a reality in most areas of the country. Companies such as Monsanto have seen great success with production through the use of genetically modified organisms, and they are not likely to want to take the hit that will come with the education of Americans which could lead many to stop buying products containing GMOs.
However, it is not simply the large companies or the public figures benefitting from them that are fighting against GMO labeling. Some economists and agricultural experts have claimed that GMOs are safe and that the ability to produce more with them could help to end the world’s hunger problem and allow us to grow food where we previously could not. In a recent Huffington Post article, the author gives the reasons why GMOs can be the best thing for the world from an economic standpoint. He also cites some arguments from the other side and states the opposing viewpoint.
While both sides of this debate certainly have valid points and ideas, motives are also called into question by each side. Those in favor of simply labeling are not often calling for the eradication of these organisms, but simply the chance to be educated on what they are consuming. They wonder why those opposed would want to keep this knowledge from them – after all, some people may wish to be educated, but will still continue purchasing GMO products anyway. Not everyone buys locally-grown organic food even though they have the option, right? All the while, those opposed to labeling wonder why we need more legislation to educate Americans on each product when it seems like many of them will not take advantage of it anyway.
This battle continues to gain steam, so the next few months should yield more interesting developments in many states across the country and in the rest of the world. Check back at Medicine Mama’s blog for future news on this topic. To learn more about how Medicine Mama’s uses non-GMO ingredients, view our About Us page!