GMOs go Stealth in the Face of Mounting Support for Honest Labeling
Barbara H. Peterson
In the fight for the safety of our food supply, many are jumping on the bandwagon to get honest labeling for foods that were produced via genetic modification (GMOs). Is this even possible?
The European Union has a GMO labeling directive that can be found here: 1830-2003. Sounds good on the surface, but does it get the job done? No, it doesn’t.
Genetic engineering outside the scope of the labelling directive
Areas in which the application of genetic engineering is very common and often unavoidable are not covered by the labelling directive.
Genetic engineering is a very broad field, and even when organisations, producers, and retailers use the term “GMO-free”, genetic engineering often is involved nonetheless. Therefore, even supermarkets with no products labelled as GMOs may not be free from all types of genetic engineering.
Examples of this are:
- Meat, milk, egg, and other animal products from animals fed GM plants. Annually, the EU imports 35 to 40 million tonnes of soy primarily for use as animal feed. Commercially available soy-based feeds generally contain 40-60 percent material from GM plants.
- Food enzymes produced with the help of GM microorganisms. Such enzymes are used in the production of cheese, baked goods, juices, wine, grape sugar, and glucose syrup.
- Additives, vitamins, and flavours that are produced by GM microorganisms. These substances do not require labelling if they do not possess content from the GM microorganism from which they were produced.
Full list of items NOT requiring GMO labeling:
To find out what is on the ‘needs to be labeled’ list go here:
It would seem that only “certain” GMOs are required to be labeled. Flying under the radar in the face of labeling laws, GMOs are being spread throughout the EU via products from animals that have eaten GM feed, as well as enzymes, additives, vitamins, and flavors that were produced using GM microorganisms, and any other product in which GMOs are “unavoidable.”
If this is what is happening in the EU, can we expect it to be any different for us if/when we finally get around to labeling in the US? Are we too little, too late? Will we soon reach a point where we won’t have to worry about labeling at all because the only non-polluted food supply we will have will be the food we grow at home? You tell me.
©2012 Barbara H. Peterson