Concern is growing over the health impact of growing and eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The World Health Organization has identified allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, gene transfer, outcrossing, GM genes introduced into the wild population, gene stability, susceptibility of non-target organisms (insects) and loss of biodiversity as potential issues of using GM seeds.
Currently, most health studies are done by GM companies themselves, which naturally have a conflict of interest that can lead to biased research or reporting. Many countries such as Japan, Australia, China and the European Union recognize the possible risks and require mandatory labeling for products made with GMOs. The call for more comprehensive, independent research is growing.
However, the official position of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) is: There is no difference between GMOs and non-GMOs. These agencies have also proposed to the CODEX Alimentarius Commission (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), that no country should be able to require mandatory GMO labeling on food items. The FDA and USDA say that mandatory labeling of GMOs is “false, misleading, and deceptive, implying there is a difference between GMO and non-GMO ingredients.” Ultimately, the FDA and USDA want to do away with product labeling standards overall, trusting corporations to maintain necessary health standards.
“GMO Alert: U.S. Attempting Global Censorship of GMO Food Labeling,” Mike Adams, Natural News, May 4, 2010. http://www.naturalnews.com/z028716_GMOs_food_labels.html
“US opposes honest labeling of GMO foods,” Ethan A. Huff, Natural News, July 9, 2010. http://www.naturalnews.com/z029168_GMO_foods_labeling.html
“GE Food,” The Center for Food Safety, March 25, 2011. http://truefoodnow.org/campaigns/genetically-engineered-foods
“20 1uestions on genetically modified foods,” World Health Organization, April 1, 2011. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en
Student Researcher: Brittney White, San Francisco State University
Faculty Researcher: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University