Drumbeat for bioengineering labeling getting louder

by Keith Nunes
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ORLANDO, FLA. – Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer of the International Dairy Foods Association, urged food and beverage manufacturers to not rest on their laurels following the defeat of Proposition 37, legislation that would have required the labeling of bioengineered foods sold in California, this past November. Ms. Tipton spoke Jan. 28 at the I.D.F.A.’s annual Dairy Forum meeting.

“The drumbeat for G.M.O. (genetically modified organism) labeling is as loud as ever and proponents are taking their show on the road,” she said. “They are training their eyes on other states, such as Washington, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and even cities to pursue similar ballot initiatives. Moreover, they learned from their mistakes. We anticipate that these new initiatives will be better written with a better ground game to push them forward.”

Ms. Tipton added it is not just legislative initiatives that may propel the call for bioengineered labeling efforts.

“Kaiser Permanente warned its members in a recent newsletter about the dangers of G.M.O.s," she said. "While the biotech industry adamantly denies the validity of the studies the newsletter cited, Kaiser nevertheless recommended that consumers buy organic food, download the ShopNoGMO app and look for labels that say products are G.M.O. -free.”

Ms. Tipton said the food and beverage industry may promote the positive aspects of biotechnology and its role in feeding a growing world population in a sustainable manner.

“The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that global food production will have to increase by 70% by the year 2050 to feed an additional 2.2 billion hungry mouths,” she said. “Although not a solution in and of themselves, G.M.O. crops can certainly play an important role in the war against world hunger. The anti-G.M.O. zealots need to get off their high horses and see what the rest of the world really looks like from the ground up.

“So what is the takeaway on G.M.O. labeling? Technology can help marry innovation to new products, but consumers might ask for a divorce if they perceive threats instead of benefits.”
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READER COMMENTS (3)

By Plantiful 2/6/2013 10:46:03 AM
The anti-GMO "zealots" are actually fighting for their right to know what they are eating. Much of the GMO-companies produce or sponsor their very own "safety" tests and results, which are then submitted to the passive FDA, which then stamps its approval on it. What will we find in today's generation of kids and the next? Who knows? Aquatech has a GMO-salmon, with the FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (yes, they are reviewing the safety of this food product for your dinner plate) ready to approve it. No labels. Put labels on the food and let people decide what they want to eat and feed to their families. I prefer to eat the food that we evolved eating: real food. As far as feeding the hungry: what do you get when you feed hungry people GMO food? More hungry people, but now with a potentially compromised eco-system. There will always be hungry people in the world.

By Rudy Krukar 1/29/2013 8:35:29 PM
These people have it all wrong! How did Luther Burbank engineer all the vegetables (tomatoes, corn, stringbeans, peas, etc.) we consume on a daily basis? Changes need to occur, so we can feed our growing population.I say let's move on, we have more important things to consider! Rudy Krukar

By Sam 1/29/2013 3:18:01 PM
And the pro-GMO zealots need to realize that GMO foods will go the way of pink slime if they don't allow food companies to be honest and transparent with their customers. The public wants to know what's in the foods they eat. LET THE MARKET DECIDE! Isn't that the way a truly "free" amrket functions?