Genetically Modified Food (GMO) Labeling… will it be required?

Tom Karst of The Packer recently published an interesting opinion article on GMO labeling.  Tom’s article reported that “the group ‘Just Label it’ has a reported 990,000 signatures in its petition to FDA calling on the agency to label genetically engineered foods…” organizations in favor of this petition want the “FDA to take notice and act on this “right to know” issue.”  GMO food labeling: Resistance is useless – The Packer

Tom’s article raises an important issue that cannot be understated.  The consumers in today’s marketplace are more savvy than ever before and they are proactively asserting their “right to know” about the origins of the food they purchase and consume.  This is a critical point because perception is often more important that reality.

For a recent example of this we turn to the meat industry.  On March 26, 2012, Beef Products, Inc. reported that it suspended operations at three of its processing plants, which processes about 900,000 lbs. of meat at each facility daily.  Why did Beef Products, Inc. suspend its operations?

The decision to halt operations at the three plants comes shortly after retailers began stating they would no longer carry the company’s products due to customer concerns.

Beef Products suspends operations at three plants, FoodONE Article (Division of SeaFax, Inc.) published on March 27, 2012.

Specifically, grocery store operators revealed they would no longer carry the “lean finely textured beef,” or “pink slime,” produced by Beef Products Inc. Ironically, food industry experts agree the “lean finely textured beef” is safe, but recent media reports have caused considerable consumer concern about the product and retailers have bowed to this pressure.  The take away here is that consumer perceptions are stronger than reality when safe products are removed from our stores simply because they are perceived to be unsafe.

Apply this recent event to “Just Label It’s” pending petition to the FDA to require food companies to label GMO food products… rightly or wrongly, I must agree with Tom Karst and say “resistance is useless.”

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