Friday, May 31, 2013

Instead of GMO labeling laws, perhaps what we need is...

There has been a lot of debate recently over whether or not food companies should legally be required to label their foods as being either GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) or not if they happen to actually be GMOs.

Supporters of these laws claim that this would give consumers the ability to know what they are buying, and whether or not they are actually buying something that is organic or not.

Critics on the other hand claim that such laws are unnecessary and even excessive, since it is well established that most foods are in fact either considered GMOs (technically speaking all foods are actually GMOs in one way or another) or at least would not be considered organic by many people in the organic food community, and that many people who do produce organic foods already label their products as being organic.

While this labeling law debate is sure to not go away any time soon, I do wonder if perhaps the anti-GMO crowd is going about this the wrong way. Perhaps instead of there being GMO labeling laws, there should be  organic food labeling laws instead.

While the GMO food industry is heavily regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (despite what many people in the anti-GMO crowd believes) there is actually very little regulation for the organic food industry.

In the United States there are no laws that says what foods are considered organic, and what foods are not considered organic. In fact anyone can actually claim that the food that they are producing is organic, when in fact what the food that is being produced is not considered organic by anyone's standards...

While the United States Department of Agriculture does have a organic foods certification program that is regulated, there is no legal requirement in the U.S. that says a company has to go through this certification program before they start to claim their food product is organic, and no one can do anything about because there are no laws that says you can't do that.

It's even possible that some food producers will claim that their food is organic when it really isn't simply as a selling point, and so that they have an excuse to sell their product at a higher cost than what it really should be selling for in order to make a larger profit...

Also, the fact that there is no legal requirement for what can and can not be labeled organic foods might cause people not to wash off fruits and vegetables because they might not think it's necessary if they believe it's organic (this should be done anyways regardless if it really is organic or not as the USDA actually allows the use of pesticides for it's organic food certification program, and it's just common sense to do that anyways).

What really is needed is not GMO labeling laws, but organic food labeling laws, because not only would it be far easier and cheaper to implement (simply put, if someone doesn't believe that their product will receive a legal certification of being organic, they're probably not going to waste the time and money to try to get their product legally certified as organic in the first place when they can go on and sell it as it is, and they most likely won't claim that their product is organic because they won't want to face the legal circumstances if they do and they are not suppose to) and it would also allow consumers who choose to buy organic foods to know whether or not the food they are buying is in fact truly organic, and not just something some company claims.

At the very least it would help prevent companies from making fraudulent claims about their products...

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