Labelling Genetically Modified (GM) Food Products
Genetically modified (GM) food products are foods produced from organisms and have had changes in their DNA using genetic engineering methods. Labeling of GM foods is only required on foods that contain more than five percent GMO ingredients.
The genetically modified (GM) food labeling can be classified as voluntary or mandatory.
Voluntary labeling requires that only GM foods significantly different from their conventional counterparts, nutritional value, composition, and toxicity, need to be labeled (01).
However, mandatory labeling requires that any food products that contain GM materials or have any significantly different characteristics as a result of genetic modification must be labeled. (01)
Impact of labeling of GM food products on producers and developers of GMO foods
The impacts of GM food on producers are likely to be varied, resulting in a net benefit to some while imposing a net cost on others.
Food manufacturers may choose to avoid foods containing GM ingredients, requiring new sourcing and formulation arrangements. With a significant shift in demand away from GM crops, producers of the products would have to shift to potentially higher-cost production (02).
Additional costs would be incurred to establish and maintain segregation systems. GM foods and non-GM foods are often mixed together during harvesting, transportation, storage, or processing. It would be necessary to establish a system to segregate the GM and non-GM products along the food supply chain and maintain them.
Trade impacts: Imported products would have to comply with labeling requirements which might effectively prevent some products from being imported and sold if the producer of the products is unable to verify the ingredients.
Research of GMOs
Precise control over the genetic changes introduced into an organism has been allowed by advances in the field of genetic engineering. New genes can be incorporated from one species into an unrelated species through optimizing agricultural performance, genetic engineering, or facilitating the production of valuable pharmaceutical substances.
Some cited examples of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) include Agricultural plants, the production of non-protein (bioplastic) or nonindustrial (ornamental plant) products, and the pharmaceutical industry.
GMOs benefit humankind when used for purposes such as increasing the quality and availability of food and medical care and contributing to a cleaner environment (03). They could make the most of their potential to alleviate disease and hunger worldwide and also result in an improved economy without doing more harm than good if used wisely.
However, without due diligence and thorough attention to the risks associated with each new GMO on a case-by-case basis, the full potential of GMOs cannot be realized.
Proponents of GMOs believe that these organisms can be safely commercialized with adequate research. Problems such as the risk of vaccine-expressing plants being mixed in with normal foodstuffs can be overcome by having built-in identification factors like pigmentation that facilitate monitoring and separation of genetically modified products from non-GMOs.
How do consumers feel about GMOs?
When it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, consumers’ attitudes to it are complex and interwoven with the consumer’s knowledge of the science and public perception.
People are curious as to where their food comes from and what’s in it, and that includes GMO ingredients. This demand was responded to with GMO labeling legislation as the growing number of people who claim they avoid buying GMO foods increases.
However, consumers claim they would be more likely to buy products that contained GMOs if a food company was upfront about explaining why they use them (04).
Although food industries concluded that there is no discernable difference between genetically engineered and conventional foodstuffs, consumers are still concerned about the impact of GMO ingredients on human health.
Check the following reference articles to learn more about the essential labeling of genetically modified food.
- International Development in Labelling of GM Foods. (2021). Retrieved 9 March 2021 URL
- (2021). Retrieved 9 March 2021, from URL
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) | Learn Science at Scitable. (2021). Retrieved 9 March 2021, URL
- (2021). Retrieved 9 March 2021, URL
- International Development in Labelling of GM Foods. URL
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