Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Should Companies be Required to Label Genetically Engineered Ingredients?

The F.D.A. does not require manufacturers of food to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients. This has since created uproar with consumers.  Many consumers are concerned with what they are eating and think that manufacturers should be required to tell consumers if their product contains genetically modified ingredients. Since the F.D.A. has not changed its regulations on labeling, it has now created confusion for the consumers. Many companies have stepped forward and started labeling their products as Non-GMO (not genetically modified). The F.D.A. does not agree with this term because it is not accurate. They say that since the food does not contain the whole organism, they should say “not bioengineered” rather than “non-GMO”. Most major food companies are pleased that the F.D.A. does not require genetically engineered ingredients to be listed. The F.D.A. believes that since the genetically engineered ingredients are not “materially different from their non engineered product” then they are not required to be listed.

Even though the F.D.A. does not require labeling, some companies have stepped forward and voluntarily labeled their products that do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Since the non-gmo labeling has became so popular, a nonprofit organization was created, called the Non-GMO Project.  The Non-GMO Project provides major food companies with certification that their products do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.  If their product passes the test, they are allowed to have the organizations butterfly seal on their products to show that the product is GMO free.  This will allow consumers to know for a fact that the products they are buying do not contain GMOs.  There are about 34,000 products that are now labeled with the Non-GMO Project seal. 

Some products that were approved by the Non-GMO project.
Consumers are very concerned with what they are eating.  They want to know what food contain genetically engineered ingredients.  In a recent research study that was conducted, about 58 percent of consumers were searching for product that were “non-GMO”.  It is believed that the consumer believes that if the product contains GMOs the product is processed.  Another part of the research asked consumers if they knew what it meant for products to be genetically engineered or modified and most did not know what that meant. 

The term genetic modification is thought to be a much broader term by the F.D.A., they believe that there needs to be a line drawn between genetic engineering and genetic modification.  The F.D.A. also stated that they do not plan on taking action against labels that say non-GMO.  The only way they would question the labeling is if the label was false.

I believe that companies should be proud of their product and want to show that their products do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.  It is scary that some companies are actually happy that the F.D.A. does not require food manufacturers to list genetically engineered ingredients.  There should be laws in place that require companies to specify the use of genetically engineered ingredients.   Consumers are definitely favoring organic and non-GMO foods right now; they are reading more into what is in the food that they eat.  Even though many people do not completely understand what genetically engineered actually means, they still try to avoid those products.  


  1. Interesting article. I try and buy non GMO food all the time. It creeps me out that modified grapes for example, are about the size of golf balls. Then I start to think about all the chemicals these plant are undergoing for this to happen. Its just unnatural and gross.

  2. Lauren very cool post! I think it is really awesome that you chose an article related to something that all us humnans need to survive, FOOD! It is crazy that the FDA does not require food companies to list their genetically modified ingredients! Especially when it comes to feeding our families ! Many of us often look at labels however, I do think many people are not aware of this !

  3. GMOs are something that get under my skin. Like many people, I am very concerned about the things that I put into my body; however I think most of the issues with GMOs are due to lack of education. Firstly, I would ask what a genetically modified organism is. In order to label these products, a line would most definitely need to be drawn in what is considered to be modification. Many people claim that changing a food from it's 'natural' state is modification enough, however we know that there are naturally occurring mutations within plants and that we can selectively breed for better fruits. If this is the case, I would have to argue that all broccoli is a GMO because of the cross breeding of cabbage thousands of years ago to create the crop.

    On the other hand, there are more intricate genetic modifications used on modern crops today that I would support labeling for due to their methodology. Again, this would require clear labeling of where each plant came from and I imagine it in difficult to obtain a pedigree for your corn to see if any of its ancestors were modified with bacterial DNA to protect it from pests such as bugs.All in all, it sounds like a good idea but without very clear guidelines, it would be very difficult to complete this task.

  4. I agree, laws should be made that require food companies to label their foods if they include genetically modified ingredients. It is important that we all are aware of what we are putting into our bodies and new laws would make this easier for many people. Eating healthier seems to be a priority for more people and the companies that are labeling their products non-GMO are making it easier for everyone to pick the best food options.