Selling GMO food without telling customers should be illegal

July 28, 2015, 9:00 pm

Agree43 Disagree8

84%
16%

The debate "Selling GMO food without telling customers should be illegal" was started by thatdebatingchick on July 28, 2015, 9:00 pm. 43 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 8 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

thatdebatingchick posted 2 arguments, PsychDave posted 14 arguments, Sumerian posted 3 arguments to the agreers part.
sloanstar1000 posted 5 arguments, historybuff posted 16 arguments, Sumerian posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.

thatdebatingchick, AstroSpace, PsychDave, wmd, I_Voyager, UltraBoston, The_lamp, HowdyDoody03, invincible_01, Rahul_SD, Bodaciouslady16, DerpedLocke, Afshin, Skeetc15, wayneSPEC, Yuki_Amayane, mohanraj, keponefactory, AlenaMaisel and 24 visitors agree.
sloanstar1000, Sumerian, historybuff, gouthamabi, littlelovaticchick and 3 visitors disagree.

It seems you are attempting to intentionally confound the debate. Why would the exact modification be required on the label? It could be provided on company websites, but on labels now they say "May contain peanuts" not "Cut by the same knives as product X which contains nuts, therefore may contain peanut". A label indicating "May contain GMO" would not need to be different.

There is a substantial difference between breeding cows who produce more milk and introducing spider DNA into goats or fish DNA into potatoes. One is simply controlling which animals reproduce, the other is creating an entirely new animal. As has been said before, stop trying to equate the two because it is a flawed and false comparison. You are comparing having children with someone who is blonde with altering your children's DNA prenatally to make them blonde. That doesn't seem terribly grey to me. Can you honestly not see a difference in methodology?

In answer to your question, if you are directly modifying the genetic changes design of something, that would be genetic modification.

Copyrighting DNA is an issue, but it is irrelevant to this discussion. Please stick to the debate we are having. If you want to debate copyright of DNA, feel free to create it in its own topic.

3 years, 10 months ago

but the GMO label actually wouldn't tell people "what's in it", we already know DNA is in it. Unless you expect companies to print the actual genetic code for people to decipher. You think it's feasible educate the public about detailed microbiology, a specialized science?

I actually misspoke earlier but I still haven't gotten an answer to my question. We've been modifying plants and animals genetically through breeding since BEFORE any Mendelian understanding of genes. The only difference is the amount of time it takes to modify. So who decides what genetic modification is worth labeling and which isn't? that's a very grey and shady area.

regardless I agree with historybuff that it's up to the customer to do their own research.

A much bigger issue is the fact that companies like Monsanto are copyrighting seeds and some farmers are no longer able to just use seeds they grow on their farm and replant, at risk of legal action. they have to buy the seeds again from the company. That's copyrighting DNA, a real issue that affects people, but is overshadowed by a non-issue that doesn't actually effect people. Unless you consider panties-in-a-waditis to be a real medical condition. It really annoys me to no end.

3 years, 10 months ago

GMO labels would not force anyone to change what is in a product or how it was made, just give indication of what is in it.

3 years, 10 months ago

Kosher is still a flawed analogy since part of something being certified Kosher is who handled it and how. There is added expense for something to be Kosher due to the requirements. For example the rituals around the slaughter of animals that is necessary for the meat to be acceptable.

3 years, 10 months ago

I still don't think your example is right. I'd say its more like people who want kosher food. it isn't the job of every food company to say their food isn't kosher. it's on those companies that cater to the kosher market to mark their products. it's unfair to force the entire market to label themselves.

3 years, 10 months ago

While you are right, there probably people who would avoid food picked by immigrant workers, there is a bug difference between what is in your food and who has at some point touched it.

For a similar situation, imagine if you were vegan. You would need to know what is in every food you ate in detail. Not for medical reasons, but for moral reasons. Others might think those reasons unjustified, or even absurd, but you have the right to decide to avoid animal products or byproducts. Now imagine some of the foods you ate contained undeclared gelatin. It has no negative health effects, and if you were unaware that it is there it wouldn't even worry you but, due to your ignorance, you have compromised your beliefs. People could accurately say that animal products are in the vast majority of foods so, unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, you should just expect that they are there. While that statement is true, it is not unreasonable to expect that the label informing you of the contents detail the actual contents.

For people who choose to avoid GMOs, that is the situation they are in. They are forced to compromise their beliefs because there is no clear way to tell what is or is not modified. Even if 80% of products contain GMOs, they cannot find the 20% that does not because there is no labeling system. Whether you agree with their reason to avoid GMOs, they should be able to select their foods without worrying that they are unknowingly compromising their values.

3 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, the second argument was in response to sloanstar1000.

3 years, 10 months ago

No. I'm saying that GMO ingredients are now the standard. Trying to force companies to point this out is an attempt to undermine them. If there were any health reason at all to include them i would be all for it. But there isn't. The net negatives of including such a label far out way any tangible benefits. If this sort of labeling is ok then why not force farmers to say exactly which kind of corn they grew and where they grew it and who picked it (they might be an immigrant). I'm sure there are people out there who would argue that everything picked by immigrants should be labeled so we can avoid it, but that will never happen either.

3 years, 10 months ago

So your argument is that, to avoid paranoia from the uninformed, people should not be informed that there are GMO ingredients? Forgive me but that seems like a double standard. If there are enough people to hurt businesses, that means there are enough people who would want to know what they are eating, meaning they should have the right to be informed. If there are not many people who are worried about it, them it would not impact the companies profits. Saying that companies shouldn't have to tell people that there are GMOs in their food because then they wouldn't eat it seems rather dishonest since you are advocating withholding information purely for the profit margin of the companies.

If you are concerned about people being uninformed, it would seem education would be a better solution than withholding information "for their own good". Protecting people from knowledge is rarely a good solution to ignorance.

3 years, 10 months ago

They are being sued over free trade issues, which have no bearing on this discussion. Enough of the American population wanted to know where there food came from that the government, in spite of the potential for Co flick with their trading partners, pursued country of origin labeling. Declaring GMOs would in no way violate free trade, and is no different from any other declaration on food. If there is enough of the population that wants to know, why should the government not pursue it?

I am aware that I would need to demonstrate that there is a sufficient percent of the population that wanted this, and I have no firm numbers to back up that there is. What I have is a very vocal minority but, just as with the country of origin labeling, it does not need to be a majority to move the government to action, just a visible section of the population.

3 years, 10 months ago

psych,

but there is cost, the company would lose revenue from the massive population of paranoid people that are turned off by the very thought of GMOs, even though they've been consuming it for ages.

it's an illusive term that isn't well defined, so I don't even see how you can put GMO on the label without specifying what the actual genetic modification is. it's not a clear label.

At the end of the day, I don't think companies should lose money because their customers are misinformed.

3 years, 10 months ago

I think you're missing the point of your own example. Labeling country of origin was not valid. The US government is getting sued over it. It was protectionist and illegal. The whole point was to encourage local products over foreign ones. Similarly people who want GMOs labeled are looking to do something similar. To try to make them look bad by camparison to non GMO foods just as they wanted Canadian beef to look bad compared to american beef. It has nothing to do with what is best for the consumer and everything to do with politics.

3 years, 10 months ago

There are conspiracy theories around wheat, salt and sugar at the least blaming all kinds of health problems on them. Some are justified, many are not. Declaring them gives people the choice.

The government recently tried to mandate putting country of origin on all produce and meats, but was stopped due to free trade agreements potentially being impacted as that gives preferential treatment to homegrown products. Otherwise all good would now legally be required to say "grown in Canada" or "Grown in USA". If making that law was a priority when the food is identical other than which side of an imaginary line it grew on, why is the genetic source less valid?

3 years, 10 months ago

Because there isn't conspiracy fueled hysteria around other ingredients. Besides its a bit like saying food contains food. Since such a high percentage of food has GMO ingredients what is the point?

3 years, 10 months ago

That doesn't change the fact that foods are already required to declare many things already, so adding GMO to the list would not add any extra expense or difficulty. Why is it any different than the ever growing list of things that are already declared even though they are in the majority of foods?

3 years, 10 months ago

But salt is a single item with noted health problems from consuming too much. GMO is just a way of making food that has no health problems associated with it.

3 years, 10 months ago

Most people are alright with eating salt, and most food contains it. It is still illegal to have it in food undeclared.

3 years, 10 months ago

I see it the other way. Since the large majority of food contains GMO ingredients everyone should assume that an item does include them. If companies want to pander to a non GMO market then they should market their products that way.

3 years, 10 months ago

It wouldn't need to be a warning any more than the inclusion of salt or sugar is a warning. It could simply be one line in fine print at the end if the ingredients list saying that some ingredients are/contain GMO products. It is already law (in some places) that there must be a similar declaration of potential nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy or other ingredients of concern, "may contain GMO ingredients" could simply be added to the end. Those who do not care cam continue to buy the products they love and see no change. Those who are concerned suddenly have transparency to know what is in their food.

There are already foods that specifically say "Does not contain GMO ingredients", which hopefully means that there is a regulatory body overseeing this certification (rather than it simply being a marketing ploy with no legal requirements). It should not be very difficult to expand this program and, if a company did not choose to become certified, they simply have to include a may contain statement on the label and nothing otherwise changes.

3 years, 10 months ago

It would be like writing "caution: may cause autism" on vaccines. Despite the fact they are completely safe and all the evidence says they are, some people are going to believe whatever they feel like.

3 years, 10 months ago

And as for Dave's point. If you include such branding a lot of people would see it as a warning. They would think they are being cautioned and it would lend credence to the conspiracy theorists disproven arguments.

3 years, 10 months ago

Genetic modification and selective breading are not the same thing. In genetic modification you are usually adding genes for different species by artificial means. Selective breading, while controlled by man, is a natural process. Ie. females seek the best mate for their young so the strongest genetics live on. Please don't try to divert the debate with unrelated topics.

3 years, 10 months ago

psychdave,

My response to that is: what can even be considered GMOs? Breeding cattle, and selecting plants for reproduction has been going on since we have understood the basics of genetics. that's genetic modification.

So who would be responsible to decipher where the line is crossed from genetic modification to the genetic modification that scares people all of a sudden?

3 years, 10 months ago

By law foods must list their ingredients. That doesn't mean that salt, sugar, cornstarch or hundreds of other ingredients are hazardous, it means people have a right to know what they are eating. Why would a simple statement at the end of ingredients list declaring that it does or does not include GMO ingredients be unreasonable?

3 years, 10 months ago

And as one more side point, scientists know that the human race has grown too numerous. We cannot support the amount of population we have without GMO foods. In short unless it can be definitively proven that they are harmful, they are absolutely necessary.

3 years, 10 months ago

It goes back decades. That is more than enough time to determine its long term effects on cattle. There were no noticeable effects, therefore no there are no negative health effects that science can find. As to the article you are referring to. I think you mean the study by Sándor Spisák. If not could you please link me more specifically to the study you mean. If that is the one you meant then please look at this article. It fairly concisely proves that study doesn't mean very much. And even if everything it claims was 100% correct then it still wouldn't matter because they didn't say it was altering human genetics.

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/gmo-foods-transfer-dna-humans-another-myth/

3 years, 10 months ago

For some reason the website i meant to link isn't there so. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/09/17/the-debate-about-gmo-safety-is-over-thanks-to-a-new-trillion-meal-study/

3 years, 10 months ago

Yes you can check it.
It is a study published in
PLOS(public library of science)
It is an open accessed and well respected peer reviewed scientific journal.
They have clearly mentioned that DNA from GMO can enter into human circulation system.

3 years, 10 months ago

Can you link to evidence that it does that? because as far as I know all the evidence says otherwise.

3 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes harm don't come to notice directly but it persist and it appears after a long time.for example aids.
Similarly we don't know that change that GMO is doing in our genes can take what sort of shape.
GMO are altering human genes.In a research scientist discovered that DNA from GMO can be transferred to humans.
along with proteins and other stuff a new gene is entering our body.And in our new generation will have this genes with them. And again researchers don't know what will be the consequences. whether change will be for good or we are ruining us.

3 years, 10 months ago

Read this article by Forbes. 90% of animal feed in the US is GMO and has been since 1996. If they were harmful, then the cattle would have been harmed. The study they discuss looked at 100 billion cattle before and after they used GMOs. they found no evidence that GMOs caused any ill health effects.

3 years, 10 months ago

Psych ,you are saying that you don't agree that GMO are not safe. I want to inform you that even researchers don't know it.It is totally ambiguous.if someone says that it is safe.it is just there opinion .

All we have right now is few case studies that shows GMO are harmful but no vivid research are there.We just don't know enough about GMO. So. we can't conclude it safe or unsafe.

The truth is we don't know about it. So we shouldn't wait to cure it's aftereffects. We should take preventive action.

But if someone wants to eat it they should know whatever they are eating can be hazardous to them.So this action of companies is punishable.

3 years, 11 months ago

If I asked for chicken and got fish disguised as chicken, yes I might be mildly upset because that's false advertising.

That's a bit different than asking for a some corn and getting corn that is genetically modified to resist a certain herbicide. It's still corn, corn that people have been eating for years. People have been eating GMOs longer than there has been irrational anxiety about GMOs.

The line between what is and what isn't a GMO is extremely thin. Who decides where that line is?

3 years, 11 months ago

More and more foods are GMO. You should assume a food is. 40-70% of food in a grocery store has GMO ingredients. If it worries you then check what foods are not. the onus isn't on them to say they are. Especially since the evidence shows they are safe. Anyone looking to avoid GMOs is looking for a specialty product.

3 years, 11 months ago

your example would only apply if people specifically asked for non GMO foods, which most people don't.

3 years, 11 months ago

sloanstar,

it does not matter if the foods are healthy or not. say you don't eat fish if you went to a restaurant and you ordered chicken but ended up with fish disguised as chicken you would be upset right especially if you've paid for it. nobody likes to be misled and it isn't right to mislead people whether the product is safe or not

3 years, 11 months ago

While I do not agree that GMO foods are hazardous, I respect people's desire to know what they are eating. I find it no different than declaring whether a food is vegetarian. Meat is not deadly, but for people who choose not to eat it having it as an unknown ingredients forces them to violate their values.

3 years, 11 months ago

whether GMO foods are safe to eat or not?it is totally uncertain. A lot of cases areare observed that put GMO in negative shade.

Altered DNA from GMO food can enter human who eat them.these foods are really harmful for maternal as well as fetal health as many toxic substances are found in GMO were found in both,it is also associated with gluten disorder and can lead to stomach inflammation.

There are no rigid evidence that GMO are completely safe or not.But we deserve to be protected from becoming case studies. We are not lab rats.So companies must put an warning information about what actually we are eating.They should leave it on customer that they want to eat it or not.

3 years, 11 months ago

Most food you eat is modified by some method, No one seems to complain about seedless watermelons, but that has been modified genetically. we modify food in other ways too, like with steroids.

unless the genetic modification would affect a person's health, I don't see the reason to label it. If we used that standard for every modification done to food products there would be no room left for the actual name of the product on the package.

3 years, 11 months ago

While I do not have a problem with GMO food myself, I fully agree that it should be labeled as such for those who do.

3 years, 11 months ago

companies should not be allowed to sell us GMO food without us knowing some people do not want that and when there is no warning companies put them under the impression that they are getting something they actually want.

3 years, 11 months ago
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