Pesticides and food: It’s not a black and white issue

Special 6-part series starting on

FIRST ARTICLE: Has pesticide use decreased over the last 40 years?

Tom Philpott: GMOs safe, but pesticide concerns argue for ‘right to know’ labeling

| | April 4, 2016

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

Over the past few weeks, an impending law in tiny Vermont has re-ignited an old fight about whether food containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled. The debate typically hinges on safety. Are GM foods safe to eat? If so—and most existing ones probably are—then there’s no compelling reason to label them, critics argue.

The spread of GM crops has caused a dramatic uptick in herbicide use on America’s farmland.

But for me, the case for labeling comes down to how GM crops are regulated. The spread of GM crops has caused a dramatic uptick in herbicide use on America’s farmland, and absent strong federal oversight, I think consumers should have a right to decide whether they want to support that system. . . .

. . . .

. . . .The problem, as I showed at length in this 2012 piece, is that the USDA vets new GM products on a very narrow basis. The whole problem of resistance and the gusher of herbicides triggered by it does not figure into its decisions. The EPA, meanwhile, doesn’t regulate GMOs per se, just pesticides. So the new herbicide-tolerant crops keep moving through the regulatory system.

. . . [I]f present trends continue, it looks like consumers will soon have a way to know which of their food purchases prop up the GMO-herbicide treadmill.

Read full, original post: GMOs Are Probably Safe. They Should Still Be Labeled

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 “Tom Philpott: GMOs safe, but pesticide concerns argue for ‘right to know’ labeling”

  1. How bizarre his argument is. Is Tom arguing for labels for pesticide use? If so, does he include organic pesticides? If so, does he argue for and support labeling that tells the consumer what non-GE pesticides would be used if pesticides on GE crops were not used?
    I think Tom is more than a little confused, and hugely hypocritical.

    • if you were to label for pesticides, then both “organic” and “conventional” would be under that aegis, logically… but… we all know how logic works in the minds of crunchy granolas…

Leave a Comment

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend