The “Just Label It” group insists it is not anti-GMO food, but merely fervent in favor of “right to know.”
My hunch is that labeling of GMO food among many proponents is more about stopping the technology than giving consumers the “right to know.” For example, the group advises consumers on “How to avoid GMO foods” by staying away from the “top eight” - corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini and yellow squash.
To get the insight of the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group, I recently put out a poll of members.
The question: Should the FDA require retail labeling of genetically modified fruits and vegetables? It should be pointed out that there is just a handful of GMO fruits and vegetables on the market now representing a very tiny fraction of a percent of total produce marketed.
Even for this industry group, the vote is surprisingly in favor of labeling for GMO fruits and vegetables, with a March 22 tally of 13 in favor of mandatory labeling and 10 opposed.
The reasons that members gave in favor of labeling follow the simple logic: Consumers should know how there food is grown and produced.
As one supporter of the idea said, “Surveys show consumers want GMO labeling, what is the food industry so afraid of if there are no risks? How does labeling “raise the price of food” exactly?”
Another member said that suppliers should at least inform buyers whether commodities are GMO or not, and let them decide if any type of labeling is necessary or appropriate.
I assume there are folks in the food industry who oppose labeling of genetically modified food, but they have elected to take a pass on vocal opposition to the “Just Label It” campaign.
Right now genetically modified food is associated with chemical companies and agri-business giants. If genetically engineered fruits and vegetables delivered better taste, elevated nutrition or some other Rx for healthy living, perhaps retailers would be the first to say government mandated labeling of genetically engineered food is not needed. After all, they would be drawing up the point of sale signs themselves.