In push for labeling GMOs, why not label mutagensis?

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A federal bill that would mandate the labeling of genetically engineered ingredients in food or beverages sold in the U.S. was revived in Congress. Here at, we spoke with parties on both sides of the debate to hear some key arguments on the divisive issue that could greatly influence the agricultural sector.

Someone who has been vocal in his criticism of genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling is Mischa Popoff, the author of the critically acclaimed book Is it Organic? and a former organic farming and process inspector.

When asked whether consumers had a right to know exactly what was in their food, be it good or bad, Popoff said he would be okay with GMO labeling if mutant breeding – the process by which seeds are exposed to chemicals or radiation to produce desirable new traits – was also labeled.

“We’ve been using those techniques for decades, but it’s completely haphazard. We don’t know the consequences,” he said.


“Sure you might get a variety of seed that has some beneficial traits, but no one ever took the time to say, ‘well sure there are some beneficial traits but are they any side effects?’ These techniques are allowed in organic production.

Related article:  Flipping the Anti-GMO arguments

“Why would you demand labeling for GMOs, when you don’t care about labeling on chemical and nuclear mutagenesis? I guess if we started labeling all those things, of course they’d be no room left on the label, but sure, if we’re going to down that road then we’ve got to label everything.”

One organization on the other side of the debate is the Washington D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, which has been working at federal and state levels for consumers’ ‘right to know’.

The group’s director of government affairs Colin O’Neil said the idea that GMO foods should not be labeled if they don’t pose a danger was ‘ludicrous’.


“If you follow that line of logic we would only be labeling foods that are dangerous, and the simple truth is in the U.S. we don’t label dangerous foods – we take dangerous foods off the market,” he said.

Read full, original article: U.S.: GM labeling would be ‘as good as a ban’, says critic

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