You can avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, or MSG if you’re a savvy reader of labels. But if you want to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), it’s not so easy. They’re not listed on labels. You could buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent GMO’s — but now that might not work either.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered foods — alfalfa, a type of corn, and sugar beets. And the FDA will likely soon approve GM salmon, which would become the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last. And the FDA and USDA will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered.
This despite the fact that over 95 percent of people polled say they think GM foods should require a label.
According to an editorial in the New York Times: “ the unwillingness to label these products as such — even the G.E. salmon will be sold without distinction — that is demeaning and undemocratic, and the real reason is clear: producers and producer-friendly agencies correctly suspect that consumers will steer clear of G.E. products if they can identify them. Which may make them unprofitable. Where is the free market when we need it?”