Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream/ Anne Steacy Health and Society Stream
1. Should the Canadian government mandate that all genetically modified foods sold in Canada be labeled as such? Identify reasons both for and against this type of policy, and explain which perspective you support and why. (500 word maximum)
The growing movement of people concerned with the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food has sparked social and political debate. Many groups have petitioned the Canadian government, demanding they mandate that all genetically modified foods sold in Canada be labeled as containing GMOs.
These groups, and other individuals, want GMO products to be labeled to allow consumers to make more informed choices. People are concerned that consumption of GMOs could cause long-term health effects. More than sixty countries around the world have responded to the concern by creating strict laws or banning foods containing GMOs.
However, many organizations have stated that the fears surrounding GMOs are unfounded. The FDA says that all genetically modified foods are subjected to the same standards as non-genetically modified foods, and they do not plan on labeling foods containing GMOs. The World Health Organization determined that the consumption of genetically modified food does not affect health. There are also approximately two thousand scientific studies that support the claim that genetically modified foods are safe to eat.
The Canadian government should not have to mandate that all genetically modified foods sold in Canada be labeled. Approximately seventy percent of all foods sold in Canada contain GMOs. Foods that do not contain GMOs are definitely in the minority. It makes more sense financially and logistically to label fewer items. Many of these items are already being labeled by trusted organizations. Anything with a USDA Certified Organic label does not contain GMOs. The non-GMO Project has been working as the only independent organization to certify non-genetically modified foods. They have already labeled twenty seven thousand items and receive seventy new inquiries about labeling every week. The USDA has a financial assistance program that can cover up to seventy five percent of the costs of certification for smaller companies who wish to be certified. Several independent farmers have gone through the non-GMO Project certification process and have reported that it is a fairly inexpensive process. Besides concern from the general public, there is no reason to label the vast amount genetically modified items. It is better to support the organizations dedicated to certifying foods as not genetically modified, than to lobby the Canadian government to provide an inefficient solution.
By Rebecca Denise Lefranc
Moncton Christian Academy, Canada
Written and Submitted for Trinity One (University of Toronto), Sept 2015 entry.