Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Our Right to Know


Labeling of genetically modified foods is required in about 50 countries, but not the United States. It is our right to know which foods are genetically modified so we can make more informed decisions about what we eat.

Genetically Modified Food

Polls have consistently shown that more than 90 percent of respondents want foods that contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such. Concern about the health and environmental effects of genetic manipulation continues to grow, but Monsanto and other biotech companies have blocked efforts to require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.

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In more than 40 other countries, labeling genetically modified foods is required. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration has refused to require labeling, and has even allowed manufacturers to market these foods as “natural” despite the fact that genetic engineering — splicing genes from one organism into another — seems pretty unnatural to most of us.

Criticism of agencies charged to assure our food is safe is growing.

• In 2011, we learned that most hamburger has been adulterated with chemically processed “pink slime,” with no indication on the label that the meat is anything other than plain ground beef. (For readers who are ready to start grinding their own burger, we plan to publish an article about meat grinders later this year.)

• Even when labeling is required, the government allows companies to mislead us. Much of the meat now sold in the United States is labeled as “enhanced with broth.” “Enhanced” means producers have injected a solution of water and salt (that would be the “broth”) into the meat. For every pound you buy, you are paying meat prices for brine — sometimes up to 40 percent! “Enhanced for profit” is what the label really means. Learn more in Shocking News About Meat.

• A new study found that banned antibiotics and arsenic-based medications are still being fed to poultry, indicating the FDA is failing to enforce its own rules. Read more in CLF Researchers Find Evidence of Banned Antibiotics in Poultry Products.