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To Label or not to label? :

Mikaela Del Giudice To Label or not to label?

GMO Basics :

A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as being created through the production of heritable improvements in plants or animals for specific uses. We will use the term “genetically engineered” to describe organisms that have been subject to the insertion, deletion, or otherwise rearrangement of genes by scientists utilizing modern biotechnology methods. Since the 1990s, genetically engineered products have become increasingly prevalent in the marketplace. Recent estimates show that 60-70% of food commercially available has been derived from genetic engineering. GMO Basics

Economic implications:

L abeling may very well facilitate unnecessary economic implications. In the current state in which we find ourselves, to require labeling would result in competitive advantages for any companies choosing not to use biotechnology. This situation would open up an opportunity for potential economic breakdown. Economic implications Figure 1

Slide4:

This is not to say that in the future, as public awareness and education grow, labeling would have the same effects.

Legal Matters:

Theoretically, a system of voluntary labeling, as encouraged by the biotechnology and food industries, may appear to be a happy medium . Realistically though, very few companies would subject themselves to that kind of scrutiny. Voluntary labeling would fail to provide customers with the information they desire. Companies may volunteer absence claims, but almost no companies will offer information revealing their products as containing GMOs for fear of losing business. Though a mandatory approach would be effective, those that hold the power to legally develop and enforce such laws are against labeling. Legal Matters

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization and the European Union have determined that labeling is not necessary because GE-derived foods have proven equally as safe as conventionally-produced foods. It appears that the United States legal system agrees with them.

Ethical considerations:

Safety Concerns-If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were to implement a mandatory approval process for all GE crops before they enter the market, that would render this justification for labeling irrelevant. Currently, the FDA recognizes GE foods as “substantially equivalent” to non-GE foods. This applies as long as the insertion of a transgene does not result in the expression of foreign proteins that are significantly different in structure, function, or quality from the natural proteins found in the organism body. In this case, the FDA has the authority to require mandatory pre-market approval. Dietary Concerns-Certain religious restrictions or lifestyle choices (vegetarians) merit consideration in the GE labeling debate. One option is that the industry could agree to supply consumers with pertinent information regarding whether or not their products utilized genes from a pig, for instance, which would most certainly violate particular diets. Though there would undoubtedly be opposition to even this concession. Ethical considerations

Slide8:

If consumers support labeling simply for the sake of knowing, companies could instead readily supply them with information via email or telephone following inquiry. This cartoon depicts the unnecessary alarm that might ensue if GE foods were labeled right now due to the lack of public awareness, widespread common misconceptions, and minimal education regarding the topic.

Slide9:

To conclude, this graphic succinctly summarizes some of the benefits and drawbacks of GMO production, as well as its prevalence.

Sources :

Dupont , V. (2013). GMO corn, soybeans dominate US market . Retrieved from http :/ / phys.org /news/2013-06-gmo-corn -soybeans -dominate.html Federation of American Scientists. (2011). U.S. regulations of genetically modified crops . Retrieved from http://fas.org/biosecurity /education /dualuse -agriculture/ 2 .-agricultural-biotechnology/us -regulation -of-genetically-engineered - crops.html Jaffe , G. A. (2002). Labeling genetically modified foods: Communicating or creating confusion ? Retrieved from http://www.cspinet.org /biotech /pew - forum.html Sunstein , C. R. (2013). Don’t mandate labeling for gene-altered foods . Retrieved from http ://www.bloombergview.com/articles /2013 -05-12/don-t -mandate -labeling -for - gene -altered-foods The Editors. (2013) . Labels for GMO foods are a bad idea. Retrieved from http ://www.scientificamerican.com/article/labels-for-gmo-foods-are -a -bad-idea/ United States Department of Agriculture. (2013). Glossary of agricultural biotechnology terms . Retrieved from http:/ /www.usda.gov /wps /portal / usda / usdahome navid = BIOTECHGLOSS &navtype = RT & parentnav =BIOTECH Sources

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