Should Genetically Modified Foods, aka GMO's, Be Labeled?

Created: 04/30/2014 10:32 AM

(ABC 6 News) - A Minnesota lawmaker, who is sponsoring a bill requiring labels on genetically modified food, believes passage of similar legislation in other 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 the summer's farmer's market. And he 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 things," says Anderson. "What we grow, whether we're using herbicides or not."

So his stance on whether genetically modified organisms, or GMO's, should be labeled as such is.... they should.  

"Absolutely," he says. "Why not?"  

But dietician Jen Haugen says there are lots of misconceptions out there.

"Actually all foods have been genetically modified since the beginning of time," says Haugen.

She says there's no proof of harm from GMO's. She says actually, 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," explains Haugen.

She says... don't label them. She thinks it would cause more harm on the market than good.

"It will add a lot more costs to actually the food, or taxes, because then we'll have to determine level, who's going to monitor that level, how will it be tested," she says.
And she adds, although GMO's aren't something new, people are still skeptical.     

"If someone doesn't understand something, whether it's GMO's or anything else, it can be fearful."

And that's why Frank Anderson thinks... why not just put a label on it so people are aware of what they're putting in their shopping cart.

"I think it seems almost like that's a basic right to know," he says.

The National Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose members include Minnesota food giants Cargill, General Mills and Hormel, want policy makers to support requirements for labeling only if the Food and Drug Administration finds a health or safety risk.