What is in your food?

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bu Julia M. Langlois

Something you do every day, multiple times. Why then, is it so difficult to inform ourselves of exactly what is in our food? There is a great amount of trust put into those responsible for making and producing our food.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) have been on the market since 1994, but consumers have been left out when it comes to learning about genetically modified foods. The term “Frankenfood” was created during the time that farmers were being educated about GMO’S but consumers were not, resulting in consumers having an unsupported negative view of genetically altered foods. Proponents point out that many of the studies in opposition to genetically altered foods have “flawed data sets”.

Since GMO’s are relatively new to our market it is understandable to want to do further research. However, to support growing populations and create more efficient agriculture, research and use of GMO’s should not be stopped until there is absolute concrete proof that it does in fact harm our health.  It has been shown that these products make up between 50 to 70 percent of the foods in our stores since 1994.

Genetically modified organisms have been a heated topic within the past year. The “Just Label It” campaign highlights labeling of genetically modified foods. Proposition 37 in California was defeated, however 4.2 million California residents voted in favour of the proposition to remove the word “natural” from labels containing genetically engineered foods and make mandatory labels for processed or raw food that are genetically engineered. It has been noted that this proposition can have an influence in Canada’s regulations.

Here are some facts about labeling in Canada. For the term “organic” to be on a label it only has to be 95 percent organic which means there’s room for GMO’s to be used. Also, there is optional labeling digit codes that can help consumers identify whether or not the product they are buying is genetically altered, organic or conventional. If the PLU (price look-up) sticker has four digits the produce is grown using ordinary methods. If there are five digits starting with an eight, the produce was grown using genetically modified methods. Finally, if the code has five digits starting with a nine the product has been grown organically.

Consumers deserve to know whether or not the food they are eating is genetically modified. Labeling the product will clear up the misunderstandings and fear of GMO’s. Give consumers the chance to be well informed and the possibility of GMO’s receiving less distrust will increase significantly.