This past week, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that requires the labeling of genetically modified ingredients.
Congress passed this legislation two weeks ago. It will require most food packages to carry a text label, a symbol or an electronic code readable by smartphone that indicates whether the food contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
The debate between whether or not GMOs are safe for human consumption is one of the most controversial topics in the health community as of late.
Both sides present compelling evidence. And it’s certainly not as easy as saying "GMOs are bad" or "GMOs are good."
There are hundreds of thousands of different uses for GMOs. Each one needs to be researched fully to understand the potential benefits and risk they possess.
However, it’s every individual’s right to know whether or not the foods they’re eating have been genetically modified or include genetically modified ingredients.
We’ve been talking about GMOs recently in this space …
The Great Organic Food Debate (July 17, 2015)
Get Ready for Homemade GMOs (Oct. 15, 2015)
Top Medical Journal Warns of GMOs, Herbicides & Public Health (Aug. 22, 2015)
Skepticism over GMO Labeling (Aug. 26, 2015)
New Study Proves Organic Meat is Better for You (March 26, 2016)
If you are someone who is against the use of GMOs, it’s only fair to know this type of information.
But for those who have been waiting for these expanded food labels, unfortunately you’re going to have to keep waiting for a little while longer. That’s because the Agriculture Department has two years to write these rules.
The timing of this bill is interesting. Just a few months ago, one of the top medical journals in the world, The New England Journal of Medicine, came out with a complex assessment on the use of GMOs …
"We believe the time has come to revisit the United States’ reluctance to label GM foods. Labeling will deliver multiple benefits. It is essential for tracking emergence of novel food allergies and assessing effects of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops. It would respect the wishes of a growing number of consumers who insist they have a right to know what foods they are buying and how they were produced.
"And the argument that there is nothing new about genetic rearrangement misses the point that GM crops are now the agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides and that two of these herbicides may pose risks of cancer."
At the time this article was published, the NEJM had hopes that the FDA would reconsider labeling of GM foods and couple it with adequately funded, long-term post-marketing surveillance.
Today, we’ve seen that wish come to fruition.
As I said before, the topic of GMOs is highly complex. We will need to see much more research on the long-term health effects, good or bad.
However, the transparency that this bill aims to provide to the average consumer is a right we all deserve.
As a consumer yourself, how do you feel about this new law? Please let us know by leaving a comment.
Happy and healthy investing,