Since the first distribution and commercialization of genetically engineered crops in the early nineties, countries around the world have been creating or have already created policies to enforce the regulation of these relatively new technologies. There are currently 64 countries all over the globe including China and Mexico that have laws mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The U.S. is not one of these 64 countries. We are one of the only developed countries in the world that does not require the labeling of these potentially harmful foods by law. Russia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greenland and all of Europe already have firm laws in place that mandate the labeling of nearly all genetically engineered foods with a threshold of .9-1% of GE content per ingredient of each food item. Serbia, Benin and Zambia have put in place an official ban on all genetically engineered food cultivation and imports. Do we not have a right to at least know what is in our food?
Foods that contain these genetically modified ingredients may not be labeled in the U.S., but thanks to an organization that formed the Non-GMO Project in 2007, we are now beginning to see a growing number of certified “GMO (genetically modified organism) free” labels on products in grocery stores across the country. The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization. Unlike companies who have been adamantly fighting against the regulation labeling of these products, the Non-GMO Project’s priority is to protect our right to know what is in our food. Maximizing safety for all of us rather than maximizing profits is the goal of this project.
The Non-GMO Project has helped to shift the power from the hands of the manufacturers to us, the consumers. We as consumers hold an immense power. If only 5% of the U.S. population were to reject food products containing genetically modified ingredients that would be enough to reach a tipping point. This tipping point would cause the companies that produce these products to stop selling them. Simply dropping one product from our weekly grocery list can significantly help perpetuate the events that are necessary in reaching this ultimate goal.
According to Non-GMO project leaders, the biggest impact that we can make on this issue is “voting with our wallet” and choosing products with the Non-GMO verified seal. We can also help to make this change by donating to the project, participating in related events, and even reaching out to our favorite brands and urging them to participate.
Article by Doria DeBartolo