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From a Farmer's Mouth "Why GMOs Deserve Our Trust"

April 7, 2015
When it comes to such a contentious issue as GMO labeling, the focus is often placed on the consumer. "Consumers have the right to know what's in their food, transparency for consumers, consumers should have choice, etc." However, we often forget about how GMO labeling will impact those who grow our food.

The food supply chain in the United States relies on a system of commingling, grain delivered to the elevator by farmers throughout the region. If GMO labeling were to pass, that would require a HUGE addition to both on and off farm storage. Nationally, we're talking billions of dollars in infrastructure needed to segregate grain. And this doesn't even address how we would need to make changes to the entire food supply chain.

In a recent guest blog, Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, reminds us to choose food, not fear and to recognize the implications that GMO labeling will have on farmers:

My association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the largest farming organization in North America. Members include a large majority of the family farms in the United States. We are joined by every other major farming organization in the U.S. – more than 25 in all – that oppose mandatory GMO labeling. So, yes, the support for GMOs is nearly universal in farming...

Labeling advocates tell us they want “full disclosure” on food labels, yet run from full disclosure of the actual science that shows GMOs pose zero threat to your health or mine. No credible, objective scientific body has found any hazard in consuming GMO food on the market. It would be wrong to allow anyone to eat it if it were. The FDA wouldn’t permit it, and our farmers wouldn’t, either. So why require labels suggesting the presence of GMOs was an important fact?...

Mandatory GMO labeling is not about warning anyone of an actual hazard but, often, simply a strike back at “bigness.” True, there are only a handful of companies that can commercialize agricultural biotechnology today. But as technology spreads, we expect to see many more in the future.

GMOs help make food safer, more abundant and more affordable, not less. Unlike previous techniques, GMO technology lets us determine exactly which of 10s of thousands of genes we are modifying...

Farmers raise and eat GMO products the same as anyone else. We know they are safe. We also know that GMOs offer protection against harmful pests that would otherwise have to be sprayed with pesticides. GMOs use soil and water more efficiently, and that protects water quality. They disturb the soil less and need fewer passes with farm machinery, each of which greatly reduces energy use and carbon emissions...

A common-sense legislative alternative is in the works to inform consumers who still seek out organic or “non GMO” food. The bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 would clarify the FDA as the nation’s foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

"Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, but they shouldn’t be misinformed about what’s safe, or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily. Farmers benefit from choice, and so should consumers. It’s in no one’s interest to turn back the clock."

BIO encourages you to read Food Not Fear: Why GMOs Deserve Our Trust in its entirety.