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May 28, 2014

In Our Opinion: Info on GMOs is worth the hassle

Walking down the aisle in the grocery store, one can feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer volume of information. 

Nearly everything you pick up has a list of ingredients, some of which are hard to understand or pronounce. Most products also have nutritional data broken down by serving size, which may or may not resemble the amount we actually eat. (When’s the last time you put a single tablespoon of maple syrup on your pancakes?)

So it is not without good reason that we join the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are calling to have yet another bit of information added to food labels. 

More than 1.4 million people have signed a petition asking the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of genetically modified organisms, according to the Boston Globe. 

On Saturday, protesters gathered in communities around the world, including Albany and Ithaca, to rally against GMOs. 

What is a GMO? The term refers to a plant whose gene has been spliced with material from another organism to achieve a desired trait. The FDA says that cotton, corn and soybeans are among the most common GMOs grown in this country. The agency furthermore vouches for the safety of food products made with GMOs. 

But not everyone’s convinced. And the two sides are so polarized that it’s difficult to even see a middle ground. 

“The emotionally charged, politicized discourse on GMOs is mired in the kind of fever swamps that have polluted climate science beyond recognition,” Keith Kloor wrote in a Slate article. 

But like Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, we believe this is not so much a question of proving the safety of GMO foods; it’s a question of consumer choice. 

“I firmly believe that Americans have the right to know what’s in their food,” Shumlin said after signing a bill that will require food labeling in Vermont. 

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