Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mark Bittman: "Why Aren’t G.M.O. Foods Labeled?"

In the burgeoning world of food politics writing, an old voice has gained a new, high-profile pulpit.

Mark Bittman (aka The Minimalist), a longtime New York Times food writer, has begun writing opinion pieces for the paper (in print and online) about the prevalent topics that, thankfully, more and more of us are becoming aware. Bittman’s coverage—whether you agree with it or not—will only increase knowledge and discussion, which, I believe, is the first step in changing our broken system.

Earlier this week Bittman wrote about genetically modified (or engineered) crops and, specifically, whether foods containing them should be labeled as such.

This is an issue we should all be cognizant of (and which I've written about), and Bittman’s piece is a good primer for the current state of affairs.

Here are the first three paragraphs:

"If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work.

"In the last three weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered (G.E.) foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol), and sugar beets. And the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of a super-fast-growing salmon — the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last — may not be far behind.

"It’s unlikely that these products’ potential benefits could possibly outweigh their potential for harm. But even more unbelievable is that the F.D.A.and the U.S.D.A. will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered, because they don’t want to “suggest or imply” that these foods are “different.” (Labels with half-truths about health benefits appear to be O.K., but that’s another story.)"
Click here to read the rest of Bittman’s article.

1 comment:

Becca Blossoms said...

genetically modified foods companies spend lavishly developing products for industrialized farmers growing corn, soybeans, and other commodities, but invest mere pennies developing GE cassava, cowpea, sorghum, and other staple crops for subsistence farmers for genetically modified foods.