GMO Labeling

August 11, 2016

August 11, 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Com Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today's commentary —

Yes — We now have legislation to deal with the GMO labeling question.

Without the legislation all the states could have required different labels on their food products. A patchwork national plan like that would have cost consumers a lot more money for their food.

However the battle is not over. The legislation gives the Department of Agriculture the responsibility to write the rules, and there is a lot of flexibility left to USDA. The legislation will not take affect for 2 years.

There are some serious questions that the Secretary of Agriculture will have to decide. Will processed foods containing refined sugar or high fructose com syrup, or soybean oil have to be labeled as GMO? Sugar, corn, and soybeans are genetically engineered.

But maybe they won't have to be labeled since after processing, there are no traces remaining of the gene altered material. The Food and Drug Administration says — no need to label.

The National Milk Producers Federation has concerns because they use an enzyme to make cheese, and it is genetically engineered.

One important point that is in the law states that meat and dairy products need not be labeled even though the pigs, chickens, and cows were fed GMO feed. Just eating GMO feed does not make the meat and milk genetically modified.

Food companies will have a lot of decisions to make because the law provides 3 different ways the consumer can scan a product to determine if it is genetically engineered.

Requiring food companies to do all of this is absolute nonsense. Food labels are supposed to convey information relevant to health, safety, and nutrition. All of the science in the world tells us that GMO foods are just as safe as non GMO foods. Why are we requiring all of this? Consumers will just be more confused and for no good reason. We can only hope after the 2 year process of implementing this legislation, consumers will come to realize, they have already eaten their weight in GE foods with no ill affects.

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