Judging a food by its label

In its analysis of Prop. 37, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office notes that already, “According to some estimates, 40 percent to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain some [genetically engineered] ingredients.”

While the designation of “genetically modified food” may call to mind the island of Dr. Moreau, the term’s actual implications are more benign. The GM designation simply means that genes from another plant or animal have been inserted into the genetic code of the food headed to market. In essence, the process allows the cultivation of specific biological traits—a task that once required generations of selective breeding—to happen virtually instantaneously. By doing so, producers can make food more nutritious, better-tasting, more disease-resistant, or less pesticide-intensive.

Nor is the process as exotic as critics might suggest. In fact, in its analysis of Prop. 37, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office—the nonpartisan group charged with dissecting state policy proposals—notes that already, “According to some estimates, 40 percent to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain some [genetically engineered] ingredients.”

As Henry I. Miller, a scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a biomedical scientist, and a former FDA drug regulator, argued recently in Forbes, “The safety record of genetically engineered plants and foods derived from them is extraordinary.”

For complete article by Troy Senik, see: Don’t Judge a Food by Its Label

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