Art Caplan: Food industry should adopt voluntary GMO labels

| | October 21, 2015

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

I’m Art Caplan at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

What do you do if someone comes in your office and says, “Doctor, what do you think about genetically modified food? Is it safe for me and my kids to eat? Do you eat it?” How do you respond?

A law is before the U.S. Congress to prohibit mandatory labeling of GMO food. Vermont passed a law some time ago mandating GMO labeling. Vermont said, “Maybe we could get a commercial advantage by saying none of our foods contain GMOs.”

I’m in the camp that says GMO foods are safe. No health problems have been demonstrated. If you can pull off the highway and buy a Slim Jim and Slurpee for lunch, the least of your problems is GMO food.

However, you can see the case for labeling. It’s not that the government should mandate labeling because of safety; there ought to be voluntary labeling by the industry. Look at all the malarkey on labels — “Made in Japan,” “Comes from Mom’s kitchen,” “Made by elves.” If people want to know what is in their food, I guess they have a right to know.

Should safety concerns fuel this? No. It’s the informed consent doctrine. If you want to know something, the food manufacturer would be wise to tell you. And for those who worry that labeling would mean the end of GMOs because consumers would avoid them, I might say, “Why don’t you put a big DNA double helix on there with a happy face and say ‘Yes, made with GMOs’?”

Read full, original post: Food Labeling: Yes or No for GMO?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

2 thoughts on “Art Caplan: Food industry should adopt voluntary GMO labels”

  1. So, Art, say I want to label my GMO food product with statements that it’s safer than “organic” competitors because mine contains less carcinogenic toxins than theirs does. I want to say that mine is better for the environment (more “sustainable”) than organics because mine needed less pesticide to grow it; that mine didn’t need as much chemical fertilizer to grow it; that mine took less fossil fuel energy and water to grow it; than mine isn’t as contaminated with feces than the “organic” one. You OK with those sorts of voluntary labelings?

  2. Let’s just label things in the affirmative and stop putting any claims or advertisements on the package.
    Wouldn’t that be a simple, straightforward, scientific alternative to all this nonsense?

    “Vermont said, “Maybe we could get a commercial advantage by saying none of our foods contain GMOs.””
    That’s just stupid for many reasons.

    And, as a doctor, what do you think is the most pressing health concern in the US today?

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