The Instigator
gracekpritchard
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
SyNeal47
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Should government enforce GMO labeling in the US?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
gracekpritchard
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,027 times Debate No: 74249
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

gracekpritchard

Pro

Unfortunately, the U.S. has yet to enforce labeling food containing GMO"s. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. They contain genetic material that has been artificially altered in what used to be a natural product. The genetic engineering epidemic is a relatively new study in which scientists are still unaware of what the long term effects will be. (4) Genetic engineering is continually being used in American food distribution with the failure of displaying it on the nutritional label. According to the FDA, they believe that there is no harm in GMO"s and there should be no reason to label products containing GMO"s. (5) This debate is going to analyze American"s right to know about products containing GMO"s, how they affect American farmers, and their overall potential damage to the environment. These three main points will be further discussed and explain why the government should mandate GMO labels.
The first point stands that American"s deserve the right to know what they are putting into their bodies. The United States government allows genetic engineering, because it produces a crop that is exceedingly larger than average, resistant to bugs, and lasts longer on the shelf. (4) Clearly that is to the advantage of production and sales, and has no functional advantage to the consumer"s health. When naturally grown products are injected with chemicals, it results in the change of DNA. This chemical therefore potentially strips away all of the nutrients the product originally had. The FDA stated that genetically modified foods were "substantially equivalent" to conventionally produced foods, so there was no material difference " and no labeling was required." (5) This policy in 1992 was issued based on taste, smell, or touch and it still remains the same today. The food that individuals consume is based on the nutrients it has to regulate human functionality, not on three basic senses. (4)
The government is trying to shelter Americans to the GMO issue mainly because they don"t know how this organism will affect people yet. American"s who consume GMO"s are in a country-wide experiment. For the time being, GMO"s are increasing production and that benefits the market and the government. There are over 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, that have policies to restrict the production and the sale of GMOs. (4) Not only do other countries inform their citizens on the label, but some countries literally ban the use of GMO"s.
The second point is focused farmers and the negative development of GMO"s in production. Farmers are being convinced into using Biotech seeds by the government, which are essentially genetically manipulated seeds. (1) The seeds are used on their crop and they are informed that it"s to increase their productivity, prevent pesticides, and eliminate weeds. (1) Farmers have found that recently the biotech seeds are becoming resistant to eliminating weeds and along with the rising price of the seeds it is turning out to be not worth it. Another reason genetic engineering is negative on farmers is due to those who choose to grow organic crops are at high risk of GMO contamination on their crops through the process of pollination. This would either force organic planters to plant in other locations or risk the failure of a crop and lose money. (1)
The reason this is becoming more of a problem today more than anything is that based on The United States Department of Agriculture Research Service, the adoption of stacked variation crops has accelerated greatly in recent years. "Stacked cotton reached 79 percent of cotton plantings in 2014[and] plantings of stacked corn made up 76 percent of corn acres in 2014." (6) The biotech and herbicide treatment was responsible for 93 percent of corn acres in 2014 and just herbicides was accounted for 94 percent of soybeans. (6) Therefore, this gives few options of places for organic farmers to grow non-GMO contaminated products. (6)
The third point is the fact that there are far too many unknown, potential risk factors involved with genetic engineering. Genetically engineered plants just became popular in the 1990"s. (2) There are traditional and less harmful ways to use selective breeding other than industrial based. Therefore, do scientists really know the long term effects of GMO"s? The source Medline Plus stated that physically inbreeding organisms could potentially lead to the extinction to the beginning naturally grown resource. (2) Non-GMO source shares that in 1994, a genetically altered tomato called Flavr Savr developed into the first commercially produced GMO product. In 1997, the Flavr Savr"s were discontinued due to issues with the odor, taste, and ability to harbor in shipping. (7) The New York Times recently issued an article on the "New Wave" of GMO"s. Technicians have genetically modified and composed a potato to not bruise, yet the bruise of that potato is important to the environment. (3) Organically grown products eventually decompose and in turn feed the earth. The creation of non-decomposing products will lead to a globally malnourished world.
American citizens have a right to know the contents of the food they are consuming. All individuals should at least have the choice to incorporate GMO"s into their diet or not. The general fact that a multitude of other countries actually prohibits the production of GMO"s should concern the FDA and drive them to respect the American citizen"s right to know. It"s also not fair to contaminate the organic farmer"s crops. They would potentially be losing profit and should by no means be forced to conform to use biotech seeds. The labeling of genetically modified foods is also important, because there is no valid documentation that it could or could not one day harm people. GMO products should be labeled in the United States, because everyone has the right to know what the substance of their food contains.
Work Cited
1)Fagon, J. (2014, January 1). GMO Myths and Truths. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.nongmoproject.org...
2)Genetically engineered foods: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2014, October 28). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov...
3)'New Wave' of GMOs: Pink Pineapples, Purple Tomatoes. (2015, March 31). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com...
4)Right to Know | Just Label It. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.justlabelit.org...
5)U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.fda.gov...
6)USDA ERS - Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. (2014, July 4). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.ers.usda.gov...
7)What is GMO? (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.nongmoproject.org...
SyNeal47

Con

"Foods from genetically engineered organisms, also known as biotech foods and referred to by some as food from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), have been in our food supply for about 20 years" (FDA, 015).
Food such as corn, wheat, and soy are widespread crops among farmers for variety uses for consumers. Many folks believe that GMP food labeling will help consumers make a choice regarding the food purchases. This is yet to be seen. While food labeling will provide the information needed for consumers, it may not necessary make people chose non-GMO items.
Mandatory labeling will impede the widespread adoption of GM food crops such as wheat and rice. Therefore, these foods choices may not be available, and the items that we see on the shelves may just be non-GMO foods. This really does not provide people with much choice.
According to the AgBioForum website,
"The mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) food aims to provide consumer choice. However, in the European Union and elsewhere, GM food with mandatory labeling has disappeared from the retail shelves. Food processors' economic incentives may explain why mandatory labeling has so far failed to provide consumer choice" (AgBioForum, 2003).
The perception of bad foods versus good food may cause folks to stop purchasing non-GMO foods, which may drive up the cost of these items. According to the FDA, "Food and food ingredients derived from GE plants must adhere to the same safety requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act that apply to food and food ingredients derived from traditionally bred plants" (2015). When the government make mandating these foods a law, there will be the need to provide marketing, education, and produce distinction in supermarkets. These will ultimately drive up the cost. While it is great for consumers to become more aware of what is in their foods, mandatory labeling may drive up cost.
References
Carter, C.A., & Gru"re, G.P. (2003). Mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods: Does it really provide consumer choice. AgBioForum, 6(1&2), 68-70. http://www.agbioforum.org....
FDA. (2015). FDA's Role in Regulating Safety of GE Foods.
Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
gracekpritchard

Pro

"Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food they"re purchasing contains GMOs (a 2012 Mellman Group poll found that 91% of American consumers wanted GMOs labeled). And, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that has been genetically modified."(1)
The basis of being pro-GMO labeling specifically corresponds to every individual"s right to know what they are eating. It"s a major issue, because in America we have the right to take on certain lifestyle choices through, food, fashion, religion, and etc. Unfortunately, if there is no label for products containing GMO"s and we are essentially being rebuked of the freedom of choice.
According to NON-GMOproject, "In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food." Considering well over half of the food Americans ingest daily contains GMO"s there is no reason prices should increase due to the labeling. There is also no reason why they shouldn't just add GMO into the description of the product. (1) Sweet corn is a product produced by many farmers and in 2011 there were plans to grow genetically modified sweet corn on 250,000 acres, roughly accounting for 40 percent of the sweet corn market (1). That same sweet corn is used for frozen, fresh and canned corn products, yet people are unaware the contents are genetically modified. If the production is going to be so high, GMO labeling is a must.

(1) What is GMO? (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.nongmoproject.org...
SyNeal47

Con

Why is it an issue?
Genetically modified foods are getting a lot of attention lately from food critics, political voices, and the general public. It won"t go away anytime soon. The fear that surrounds these foods may be unwarranted and labeling may cause panic, which may cause people to only choose non-GMO products. If that is the case, then people are not given a choice.
"There are a whole lot of dangers out there. People are becoming obese in record numbers from quaffing refined foods and sugary drinks. Certain illnesses have increased due to poor diets. Nobody has yet demonstrated that GMOs make us sick" (Schiffman, 2013).
Until there are major studies that can prove GMO labeling will offer consumers greater choice, mandatory labeling should not take effect.
Reference
Schiffman, R. (2013). GMOs aren't the problem. Our industrial food system is. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com...
Debate Round No. 2
gracekpritchard

Pro

In this day in age Americans want things on the go and fast for their busy lifestyles. In turn, they are sheltered from a healthy lifestyle by the fast food they order out of pure convenience. In order for GMO labeling to be enforced in America, all citizens need to be on board and aware of the harm of transgenic foods. "On March 27th, 2012, 180 days after the petition was filed, over 1 million Americans had signed in support of labeling genetically modified foods. To date, the FDA petition has received over 1.4 million signatures."(1) The more people that sign petitions against GMO"s the tighter the government"s hands will be tied. The people deserve to be informed that this is an issue just as much as they deserve to know what is in their food.
"According to a USDA assessment report, the FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation. The report states, "FDA"s inability to keep up with scientific advances means that American lives are at risk.""(2) According to this quote, the FDA is not concerned to the extent they should be with the health of American citizens. The current policy of voluntary labeling is not enough.
Another action that needs to be taken is American's need to buy more of non-GMO products and less of the non-labeled food. In effect the genetically engineered production will lose product and money if less people buy from them. The only way to make a real change is through the American people. Companies like Organic Valley have been fighting the war against GMO's for a long time and they need everyone's support to stay organic. (2)

1) Right to Know | Just Label It. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.justlabelit.org...
2)Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://www.organicvalley.coop...
SyNeal47

Con

What can be done?
It is well-known that most consumers are very informed. They want to know their food ingredients. People who are food conscious want to be given information that will allow them to make better food choices, which is understandable. However, making the government mandate labeling of GMO may not provide the choice for all consumers. There are several other things than can be done with this important topic. One, there need to be more studies that will prove GMO"s are not safe for consumption. More resources need to go to educate the public about Non-GMO and GMO products.
Like Chipotle, start at restaurants and see how the general public responds to the choices of Non-GMO menu items. "Chipotle should be a place where people can eat food made with non-GMO ingredients" (Lewis, 2015)
Lastly, the government, and the FDA should be a resource to assist companies if they choose to label there GMO goods. Leave the choice up to those companies and then evaluate the consumers response before millions of dollars is spent on GMO labeling.
Reference
Lewis, T. (29 April 2015). What Chipotle's 'Ban' on genetically modified moods really means. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by SyNeal47 2 years ago
SyNeal47
"Foods from genetically engineered organisms, also known as biotech foods and referred to by some as food from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), have been in our food supply for about 20 years" (FDA, 015).
Food such as corn, wheat, and soy are widespread crops among farmers for variety uses for consumers. Many folks believe that GMP food labeling will help consumers make a choice regarding the food purchases. This is yet to be seen. While food labeling will provide the information needed for consumers, it may not necessary make people chose non-GMO items.
Mandatory labeling will impede the widespread adoption of GM food crops such as wheat and rice. Therefore, these foods choices may not be available, and the items that we see on the shelves may just be non-GMO foods. This really does not provide people with much choice.
According to the AgBioForum website,
"The mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) food aims to provide consumer choice. However, in the European Union and elsewhere, GM food with mandatory labeling has disappeared from the retail shelves. Food processors' economic incentives may explain why mandatory labeling has so far failed to provide consumer choice" (AgBioForum, 2003).
The perception of bad foods versus good food may cause folks to stop purchasing non-GMO foods, which may drive up the cost of these items. According to the FDA, "Food and food ingredients derived from GE plants must adhere to the same safety requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act that apply to food and food ingredients derived from traditionally bred plants" (2015). When the government make mandating these foods a law, there will be the need to provide marketing, education, and produce distinction in supermarkets. These will ultimately drive up the cost. While it is great for consumers to become more aware of what is in their foods, mandatory labeling may drive up cost.
References
Carter, C.A., & Gru"re, G.P. (2003). Mandatory lab
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by salam.morcos 2 years ago
salam.morcos
gracekpritchardSyNeal47Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct, spelling and resources: Tied. Pro came up with 3 reasons to support labeling: 1- The right to know. Con argued that providing the labeling may not provide the choice. Con's argument fails because it doesn't answer the question, and secondly to claim that "providing information" will deny American the choice is absurd. By denying Americans the information, you're denying them the choice. Pro wins this argument. 2- Impact on farmers. Con didn't rebut this point. Pro wins this argument. 3- The unknown - We don't the dangers associated with GMO's. Pro argues that people should have the choice to know about something that "may" or "may not" be harmful. Con's argued that more research is needed before action is needed. Con's argument is very weak. Pro wins this argument. Pro argues that more Americans actually want to know this information (91%). Con didn't respond. Pro wins this argument.