ConAgra will begin labeling GMO food products this summer. What are your feelings on GMO foods?
"ConAgra Foods will begin adding labels to products nationwide by July 2016 to meet Vermont’s GMO labeling requirements. We stand behind the health and safety of all of our products, including those with genetically modified ingredients, and believe consumers should be informed as to what’s in their food." Brands include Hunts, Slim Jim, Reddi Whip, LaChoy, RoTel, PAM, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, and many more.
Will this result in the entire food industry following their lead? Will they lose sales? Do people actually care about GMO or is it just a talking point?
I think there are some people who do care what's in the products they buy, and will be glad to see them clearly labeled, and there are those people who don't ever read labels, and wouldn't know what a GMO was if it jumped up and bit them. Some people are concerned about the types of ingredients that go into the products they buy, and some people aren't.
I don't know that labeling GMOs will make a difference in sales, because those people who aren't reading labels now aren't going to start, and those who are reading them may not know or care what a GMO is. Some of them might think that GMOs are a good thing, and will stick with the brands they like, regardless of whether they contain them.
My own shopping habit is to read labels, because I'm vegan, and I'm always checking to be sure that the products I buy don't contain animal-derived ingredients. I've been buying products with the Non-GMO Project seal for several years, particularly when I know the product contains corn or soy. I'm not so much anti-GMO as I am uncomfortable with the lack of long-term, independent testing showing that there are no harmful effects from eating them. So, labeling GMOs probably won't change things much for me, because I'm already buying products tagged as non-GMO.
For our family we choose to not consume many if any GMO products. I won't lie occasionally we do consume them just because we miss them. I mean going fishing without Slim Jims for example, is just wrong for us. So we cheat.
However I do find it nice to know so that we can avoid them easier. I have come to know most of the foods GMOs are used in. I have a pic on my phone that breaks down all of the companies.
GMO is good in SOME situations. Countries who have no food for example would likely not care, but here in the states we have other options. So it should be made easier for us to choose healthier foods.
Will it make a difference to the masses? Not likely! Here in the US most people don't care what is in their foods or even if it is bad for them or not. It's too much effort to learn about studies done on these products.
So while I doubt it will make a difference to most, I am happy about the change!
I think labeling should be required. I don't think enough is known about GMO foods to declare that they are or are not safe. Still, the information should be provided for those who have concerns. For those who don't, it won't make any difference.
It is a mixed bag. On one end, modifying of genes has led to rapid changes in crops that have increased yields, shelf stability, pest resistance, drought tolerance and etc. In many ways, this is an accelerated and more pinpointed means of cross breeding and cultivating more desirable crops; which farmers have been doing for centuries.
On the flip end, because we are able to rapidly change plant genes it can be out of step with the ecosystems because the transition is so fast. It can strip soils, kill natural pollinators, sacrifice some nutrients, or etc. Overall, rapid changes with a number of things can create a series of unintended consequences and I think it is fair to say we don't have a 100% understanding of the variables we manipulate.
It is a tool and a useful one, but it comes with unintended consequences and can be dangerous without bounds; just like with fire you can boil water or burn down a forest.
Am I scared to eat GMO foods or think that they are inherently unhealthy, no. Do I think that, some level of pragmatism is needed in judging them, yes. Do I see value in labeling them? Probably, if only for transparency. I don't know for the average consumer if it is going to change their habits. But like anything else, if people want to buy something else; the market will adapt to that demand if consumers can not be dissuaded.
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