Americans demand labels, at least in part, because they are afraid. And they are afraid because of the kinds of assertions made by people like Vandana Shiva, an Indian activist whom I profiled this week in the magazine. Shiva and her allies talk constantly about dangers of G.M.O.s that are not supported by facts.
G.M.O. labels may be a political necessity, but they make no scientific sense. Most of the legislation that has been proposed would require a label that says something like “produced with genetic engineering.” Almost none of the labels would identify any specific G.M.O. ingredient in any particular food. In fact, the laws now proposed are so vague that many of the foods in a grocery store would have to carry a label. They would tell you how your food is put together, but not what it contains. How could that help anyone make a sound decision about his health?
As someone who has sneered about G.M.O.s in the past, the little piece I’ve linked to here, as well as the profile of Vandana Shiva that Specter mentions (which I cannot recommend enough), made for eye-opening reading. I’ll think twice before sneering so easily (and fact-lessly) again.