Tufts nutrition expert navigates ‘destructive debate’ over GMO labeling

| | September 10, 2015
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[Editor’s Note] Parke Wilde is a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University who specializes in US food and nutrition policy and economics. He writes the U.S. Food Policy blog at http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com.

1. I never say “GMOs are safe.”

Not all GMO traits are safe. The most widely-used is the  “glyphosate-resistance” trait. This pesticide is thought to be safer than many others. Yet, GMO technology has encouraged rapid increases in its use prompting concerns about environmental consequences and less settled but relevant concerns about health consequences .

2. I never say “GMOs are dangerous.”

The fact that a technology is GMO doesn’t make it dangerous. One major GMO trait is the “Bt” trait, which allows crops to produce the Bt toxin. Bt is widely thought to be harmless for vertebrates, and is permitted in “organic” production.

3. I do not support mandatory GMO labels.

A mandatory labeling proposal is not just about meeting the needs of curious consumers. It also is about using the government’s own authority to stand behind the value of distinguishing between GMO and non-GMO foods.

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4. I do not support stripping states of labeling authority.

The “Just Label It” campaign wishes to frame the debate not as a question of government enforcement of a dubious distinction, but as a question of our “right to know what is in our food.” There is no better way to justify that framing than to try to take away state rights to inform people about what is in their food.

The current GMO argument in the U.S. is like a hurricane, blowing first one way and then the other, yielding nothing but destruction. The only way to be heard above the storm would be to yell. Yet, here I sit in the storm shelter, quietly muttering to myself, “Really, I do think we should be able to talk more sensibly about GMOs.”

Read full, original post:  A boring post with quiet opinions about GMOs

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