Government should NOT require GMO labeling for food products
72 hours per round should be plenty for you busy workers and students out there. Good luck and may the force be with you!
*2nd round is arguments made. 3rd round should be rebuttals, and 4th round last minute rebuttals and closing remarks. Thanks and have fun!
**GMO-genetically modified organisms. This debate focuses on the product labeling of genetically modified foods or those containing ingredients with genetically modified organisms/substances.
***In case it is misunderstood, I am against government requiring gmo food and food products to be labeled
I am arguing that the government should require GMO labelling for food products
Thank you for the acceptance stef16. It has come to my notice that a commenter was confused as to my late reply. As this is my fist debate, I am sorry if I have misunderstood the typical procedures of this website. However, I did state that there would be a time limit of 72 hours between rounds, as this will allow time flexibility on the part of both pro and con. So If you will forgive me for not posting my argument immediately after Stef16 accepted the challenge, I would be grateful ;)
Government’s role is not to require labeling of GMO foods; nor is its role to take the responsibility of labeling GMO foods upon itself. First off, this power is not granted to the federal government in the constitution, which is the law of the land. Secondly, neither the state nor the federal government should intervene in GMO labeling because of underlying inefficiencies and untrustworthiness. Finally, the government is violating property rights and the free commerce of goods, by forcing them to be labeled, against the will of the businesses who own the property (goods), under threat of restricting or depriving them to undergo trade.
1. The federal government is not granted the power to require suppliers to undergo mandatory GMO labeling.
Nowhere in the constitution is it found that the federal government shall have authority to restrict free trade for lack of GMO labeling (or any kind of labeling for that matter). The tenth amendment to the US constitution states,
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Therefore, the argument for this power of mandatory GMO labeling is not legal under the current constitution. Therefore, this power is exclusively reserved to the states, which I will prove in my next point why it cannot and should not be given to, either.
2. Neither the state nor federal government should require mandatory GMO labeling from food products, because they would otherwise be in violation of the 1st amendment.
The 1st amendment to the US Constitution states,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Making a law that requires GMO labeling of food products is in violation of the 1st amendment, because it is imposing a necessity of speech on the producer or supplier. If the producer or supplier would choose to not speak about GMOs, a law requiring them to say something about it is an abridgement, or curtail of their right to speak (or not speak) as they wish. The accepted limit to this freedom is in cases of violent threatening, defamatory remarks, and fraudulent claims. However, refusing to speak on the subject of matter, is not in violation of any of the limits. Therefore, any government requiring products to be labeled, under the threat of restriction of market participation, is in violation of free speech, the 1st amendment, and the law of the land.
3. Government agencies directly or indirectly responsible for the labeling of GMO foods/products will largely be inefficient or inaccurate.
There are two ways for government to fulfill the (unconstitutional) mandate of GMO labeling: Creating or using a new department to directly label the GMO food products, or creating an agency to indirectly enforce GMO labeling through regulation of producers or suppliers.
In the first way, with a government department directly labeling GMOs, the mass amount of information needed to accurately and effectively label food products would be very difficult for a government department to take care of in an accurate and timely way. The department would need to obtain information on all ingredients of the food substance, all sources of the ingredients, as well as the genetically modified status of each ingredient, based on their source. Because companies can simply lie, the government would also have to find much of this information for themselves. For example, it would have to send inspectors to individual farms and places of production of the ingredients that formulate the product. It would have to engage in costly analysis to test for possible genetic contamination of food ingredients, such as the easily contaminable crop, corn. It would then have to determine the percentage of GMO ingredients that the food substance comprises of, in addition to deciding whether this percentage should be made on total number of ingredients, total weight, total volume, total calories, etc. All these new jobs of the designated government department would be extremely difficult to fulfill, which would lead to inefficiencies in the job of providing accurate labeling. In addition, the high cost of laboratory testing, regulators, and bureaucrats would be funded through taxpayer money or dumped onto the costs of businesses, thus leading to an increase in prices for the consumers. Anyone who believes that the amount of money that it costs to label GMOs can somehow disappear from the market system or not hurt consumers is in denial of a basic economic law, that is, higher production costs will result in higher product costs. Thus, government must sacrifice efficiency, in order to obtain accurate, but costly methods of GMO labeling.
The second method for mandatory GMO labeling, is to force producers (the businesses who make the food product) or suppliers (often times the stores that sell food products) to undertake the responsibility of labeling their food products for GMOs. This would save on only a few costs, however all regulatory costs will have to remain in place, due to the possibility of businesses not accurately representing the GMO composition of their food products for various reasons. Additionally, without a set of universal requirements, companies may have different standards for GMO labeling, thus confusing, and potentially misleading the consumer into the actual GMO composition.
Both methods also have a real possibility of government corruption, due to regulatory capture. Businesses could have a large influence over regulators in their industry, causing them to overlook certain questionable ingredients, possibilities of contamination of GMOs into their food products, and deliberate misstatements of the actual GMO composition of their food products, through lobbying or other devious methods. Thus, any government required labeling of GMO food products, would be untrustworthy due to the potential for regulatory capture, leading to inaccurate labeling.
4. Government is not upholding property rights by requiring mandatory GMO labeling of food products.
A law that requires GMO labeling is a violation in property rights. Food products owned by the producer are property off that producer. Private property is characterized by its ability to be used as seen fit by the owner, as well as the owner of the property to have the ability to freely sell, exchange, or give the property and all rights to that property to another person. Thus, government restricting the free trade of property (food products) is in violation of property rights, which include the right to exchange it under only mutual agreement of the two parties involved. The government is one of those two parties, and should have no say over the exchange of such goods, as long as the exchange is not coerced, misrepresented through fraud, or in violation of life or liberty. Thus, if our society truly respects property rights, as well as the ability to freely trade it, which comes with it, they would not allow federal or state governments to intrude on such an exchange.
Concerning the solution to fulfilling the demands of those consumers who wish to see GMO food products labeled, it is one of voluntary “dollar votes” as well as independent organizations that will label GMOs. A non-coercive, voluntary system of GMO labeling is not in violation of the law of the land, namely that of the 10th amendment and 1st amendments to the constitution, nor is it in violation of property rights and free trade. The proposed voluntary solution for GMO labeling would consist of a demand for GMO labeled products, and thus the unsatisfactory or lack of such labeling of products, would result in the decreased purchasing and demand for such products. The increased purchasing and demand for products willing to coincide with consumer’s wants, would lead to a voluntary decision for most businesses to label their products voluntarily, as it would increase their net profits if there was a demand for GMO labeled food substances. Additionally, independent organizations would be founded to regulate and promote honest labeling and complying companies and products. This is not an unfounded solution, as it is largely recognized that “dollar votes”, or demand, will “force” businesses to voluntarily label products, or face the possibility of losing profit. Additionally, independent organizations, funded by donations or with personal wealth by extremely passionate groups exist today. The Consumer Wellness Center does highly advanced mass spectroscopy testing for common food products in order to find heavy metal contamination, all mainly funded by personal wealth of the founder. Other similar organizations exist, such as the non-profit Non-GMO Project which verifies non-GMO status of food products. The voluntary and free market solution to GMO labeling is superior to that of government solutions, which only involve force, coercion, illegal laws, and restrictions of freedom of speech and free commerce. Therefore, government should not be in the business of labeling GMO food products.
Once again, I’d like to thank Stef16 for accepting me to this debate, and I look forward to his proposed arguments supporting the role of government involvement in labeling GMO foods.
stef16 forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited this round. I am quite sad as I spent a lot of time writing up my debate, but I guess I will have to put this up for debate again. Since this round is specifically for rebuttals, I have nothing to rebut and therefore ask voters to vote for pro, as my opponent has forfeited!
stef16 forfeited this round.
I'd like to remind everyone that although I would personally prefer GMO labeling, I don't believe that it should be done by the government. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read the "debate". Vote pro please!
stef16 forfeited this round.
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