GMO Labeling Essay

¶ … labelling GMO foods in Hawaii, where there have been several initiatives to curtail the use -- or at least to force the disclosure of GMO labelling and other transparency issues. Gillam (2014) describes a ballot measure on Maui seeking to suspend the production of GMO crops on the island. It is noted that there is little transparency with respect to these crops. Many of the genetic changes are done to make the crops resistant to aggressive pesticides, and this contributes to health and environmental dangers. Citizen's groups argue that not enough is known about the long-run effects of GMO crops and that the companies involved lack transparency, and do not typically operate in the public interest, but only in their own interest. Brower (2013) describes a bill passed to force disclosure from GMO companies with respect to pesticide testing sites, which are feared to be adjacent to schools, homes and waterways. The author notes that food production need not be inherently destructive, but that there are few controls and disclosures for agribusiness, and that lack of oversight puts ordinary...


The negative health outcomes are an externality from which these companies profit, to the detriment of the affected population.
With respect to the issue of GMO foods, there are a few different arguments that are floated. Proponents of genetic modification point to the need to feed a rapidly-growing population and the increased production that can result from designing crops that are more resistant to disease and pests. This camp ignores a few things, such as the fact that much of the food that is produced is wasted rather than distributed to meet the needs of the poor -- their benefits exist more on paper than in practice. These companies typically make safety claims based on short-term studies, as long-term studies for emerging technologies are not available.

The anti-GMO lobby rightly points out that poisons in the environment can take decades to metastasize into cancers or other ailments. Thus, long multi-decade longitudinal testing can prove their safety. They also note that the current level of disclosure with respect to pesticides and GMO food production…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brower, A. (2013). To feed and protect the world, rein in corporate ag. Huffington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from

Gillam, C. (2014). Anti-GMO crop, pesticide ballot initiative launched in Hawaii. Reuters. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from

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