Lawmaker Wants State to Require GMO Labels

Updated: 04/29/2014 6:17 PM
Created: 04/29/2014 6:10 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A Minnesota lawmaker, who is sponsoring a bill requiring labels on genetically modified food, believes passage of similar legislation by states could force action at the federal level. We talked to those both for and against the labeling of GMO's
Frank Anderson at Surin Farms has already begun planting his produce for this summer's farmers market and says he's always kept his buyers well informed on what he's selling. "At Surin Farms we certainly have always been straight with our customers with what we're doing with thing, what we grow, whether we're using herbicides or not," said Anderson.
His stance on whether or not genetically modified organisms, or GMO's, should be labeled as such, is yes, they should be. "Absolutely," he said.
However, Dietician Jen Haugen says there are a lot of misconceptions out there. "Actually all foods have been genetically modified since the beginning of time," said Haugen. She says there's no proof of harm from GMO's, in fact, under a microscope the foods are identical. "You will not find actually a compositional difference within foods produced with biotechnology and foods not produced with biotechnology,” she said.
Haugen says not to label them because it may cause more harm to the market than good. "It will add a lot more costs to actually the food, or taxes, because then we'll have to determine a level, who's going to monitor that level, how will it be tested.." she said.
Though GMO's aren’t something knew, people are still skeptical. "If someone doesn't understand something, whether it's GMO’s or anything else, it can be fearful," said Haugen.
That's why Anderson thinks, why not just put a label on GMO’s so people are aware of what their putting in their shopping cart. "I think it seems almost like that's a basic right to know," said Anderson.
The National Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose members include Minnesota food giants Cargill, General Mills, and Hormel, have urged policymakers to support requirements for labeling only if the food and drug administration finds a health or safety risk.

Photo: ABC 6 News