Should genetically modified (GM) food be labelled?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 January, 2005, 12:00am

Pulcheria Chung, 18 St Mary's Canossian College

No. There are simply too many complications involved. It would be very difficult to set a uniform standard that would be universally accepted by all countries, as some food items are exported. Different countries might have different standards.

Also, not all GM ingredients can be easily detected through tests - for example, oils and sugars.

It would cost a lot just to find new methods to detect GM ingredients. Farmers want to grow better crops to make a better living. Street vendors who buy and sell their fruit and vegetables at a low cost cannot possibly know if the produce they bought from wholesalers has been modified.

There is also a new technology that can disguise the fact that a certain food is GM. This is unfair to honest companies.

Labeling people amounts to discrimination. Labeling food is no different. Labeling gives consumers the impression that GM food might be harmful to their health, which turns them off such foods.

The problem is that most consumers do not have a clear idea of what GM technology is. Words on labels will only confuse them further and lead to prejudice against GM food.

At the moment, the world is not ready for GM food labeling. Further research on GM technology and detectors, education on GM food, debates and discussions with GM farmers, companies and global conferences are needed first to achieve standard regulations.

Oliver Kwan, 17 Delia School of Canada

Companies should be forced to label their products as genetically modified if they are.

People today have one of the most important things available: freedom. If you want, you can completely avoid meat or eat nothing but meat.

The freedom to choose is a great privilege bestowed upon us, and if companies aren't forced to label their products, we're deprived of that privilege.

If we don't know what goes into a product, how can we make an informed choice? Some people don't eat certain things for religious reasons. What if those restricted items were spliced into something otherwise acceptable?

What if a person has a certain allergy that is brought on by certain modifications made to food? Or if they just don't like the idea of eating a fish-tomato hybrid? We have the right to choose, and consequently, to know.

Some argue that GM labels would destroy the consumption of GM foods. I ask these same people to take a look at cigarettes. Tobacco manufacturers have been forced to outright say that their product will kill users, but people still buy them.

It is true that GM food is generally more efficient to produce and keep than non-GM food, and it usually is a lot cheaper. But it should be our choice to choose what we want to eat, and our right to know what we're choosing.




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