GMOs are a touchy subject at the dinner table. Is thoughtful debate possible?

The subject of GMOs can whip pleasant dinner conversation into an ugly froth. It’s a complicated issue, produced with complicated science. Worse, many people don’t understand anything about GMOs. Few people grasp the most basic aspects of GMOs (e.g. what the letters stand for).

The wide consensus in the scientific community is that GMOs have no measurable effects on human health. Only one study that showed GMOs to be dangerous and it was debunked and discredited.

Why there is still such vocal opposition to GMOs? Articles and op-eds have flooded the Internet recently, suggesting that GM opponents are dumb or anti-science. While there are legitimate reasons to stay wary of some GMOs (see: Roundup Ready corn), the subtleties get lost in the louder debate.

The debate about GM labeling, in a sense, has little to do with the pros and cons of genetically modified foods. It’s about a consumer’s right to know. But the anti-labelling lobby is strong and it’s not just big agribusiness. Take this op-ed in Scientific American, arguing that GMO labels help to perpetuate the anti-science myths.

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Some have argued for an alternate path, where only foods without GMOs would get labeled. Like “fair trade” it’s a way of highlighting a niche quality some consumers might appreciate. These voluntary labels have already started popping up.

The House bill that would prevent states from mandating GMO labels doesn’t have matching legislation in the Senate yet, but celebrities are rushing to Washington to slow the tide and encouraging others to show support. Only time will tell how the issue will play out.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Okay, Um, So, Uh, What Exactly Is All This Fuss Over GMOs?

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