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Even if consumers shrug off Vermont-style labels, there will be costs. Most GMOs people consume come from corn and soybeans of the sort I grow on my farm in Missouri. Nationwide, well over 90 percent of each crop is genetically modified. They are handled in bulk. We combine the grain, dump it in a truck, and take it to one of those huge grain silos you see when you travel across the Midwest. If farmers have to segregate GMO from non-GMO crops, the infrastructure in those facilities will have to be multiplied. . . .
Proponents of labeling are adamant that consumers have the right to know what is in their foods. Consumers have demonstrated that preference in dozens of public surveys, some of which show over 90 percent approval of GMO labeling. On the other hand, a recent survey conducted by agricultural economist Jayson Lusk suggests that 80 percent of consumers are also in favor of labeling foods containing DNA.
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We need a solution, and I think I have one. Let’s require labels on any foodstuff that has been changed at any time in the past 10,000 years by human ingenuity. The label would read:
This product contains organic material altered from its natural state by human intervention. Some changes were introduced thousands of years ago, when our forefathers selected seeds from the best-tasting or most-productive plants. Some changes were introduced by inbreeding or crossbreeding. Some changes were made by causing mutations with radiation, some by dosing seeds with chemicals. Some alterations were the result of sophisticated laboratory techniques. The sum of all these changes has been a huge boon to mankind. Bon appétit!
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