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The Green Life: Organic Group Demands Labels for GMOs

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February 01, 2012

Organic Group Demands Labels for GMOs

Would you want to know if the food on your dinner plate was engineered by scientists? Some organic farmers say that consumers shouldn't be kept in the dark about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which have been altered to include DNA from other species. A new campaign initiated by a group of "organic stakeholders" urges the FDA to Just Label It.

A slew of nations have similar regulations in place: The European Union, Japan, Australia, and parts of Southeast Asia required GMO labeling back in 2002. They were joined by several African countries and Brazil in 2004; India, Chile and Russia in 2006; and China in 2011. While the FDA has required labeling for transfats for the last nine years and food allergens for eight years, many processed foods on store shelves contain unmarked GMO ingredients. 

The most prevalent GMO foods on the grocery shelf are the corn and soy used in processed foods. GMOs also show up in most animal feeds.

These Frankencrops were created with the promise of increased yields and resistance to pests, but some say that promise hasn't been realized. After nearly twenty years worth of peer-reviewed research was reviewed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, only one major GE crop — BT corn — showed any significant increase. Additionally, since many GMO crops are designed to be resistant to herbicides, an additional 383 million pounds of herbicides have been used in the last 13 years, creating superweeds that now require even stronger herbicides to combat them.

Some activists say that if manufacturers want to put their foods on store shelves, they should be willing to disclose all of the information about the ingredients — then consumers can make their own choices.

--Cyndy Patrick

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