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Since genetically-modified (GM/GMO) crops came onto the market, there’s been a lot of debate about whether foods containing ingredients from GM crops should be labeled. Some people believe it’s a right-to-know issue, and all products containing ingredients from GM crops should be labeled as such.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees food labeling laws in the United States. The FDA has determined that where genetically-modified crops don’t differ from non-GM crops, that products containing them don’t have to be labeled. FDA does require the product to be labeled if the ingredient is a potential allergen, or somehow changes the nutritional properties of the food. To date, no approved biotech crop is either an allergen, or has any significant nutritional differences from non-GM counterparts.
Some might ask what the harm would be in requiring the labeling of products. U.S. labeling laws are based on health and safety. Requiring labeling for ingredients that don’t pose a health issue would undermine both our labeling laws and consumer confidence.
A better question might be: What would be the benefits of labeling products containing GM ingredients? Individuals who make a personal decision not to consume food containing GM ingredients can easily avoid such products. In the U.S., they can purchase products that are certified as organic under the National Organic Program. They can also buy products which companies have voluntarily labeled as not containing GM ingredients. The law allows for voluntary labeling so long as the information is accurate, truthful and avoids misleading consumers about the food. Monsanto supports both options.
Individuals who make a personal decision not to consume food containing GM ingredients can easily avoid such products.