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The topic of food safety has become a widespread discussion among people everywhere today. Ever since the new development of GMOs, genetically modified organisms, problems have arose among many different cases in which either people or animals were being affected by this new advent. In an effort to promote food safety, the Center for Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration have postulated their own ideas as to what societal “food safety” should look like, regarding the topic of GMO foods. The Center for Food Safety believes that all foods should be labeled GMO or non-GMO, while the Food and Drug Administration strongly opposes such an idea. Although both organizations desire to create a safer way for food consumption, both groups disagree on one aspect: labeling GMO foods. Even though the two sides stand firmly on their contrasting beliefs, a compromise can most certainly be reached by analyzing similar concepts of what food safety is, such as ensuring what is in food products and labeling them correctly, and implementing those ideas into their plans. The two groups would have to follow a set of steps that will allow them to reach a common goal, encourage the groups to present their ideas to the public, and bring them to a compromise.
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a national non-profit organization that serves to promote safer health of people and the environment. The Center for Food Safety has been finding new ways to encourage the use of organic foods and agriculture while discouraging the implementation of unnatural food production technologies. Their motto, “protecting our food, our farms, and our environment”, can be displayed throughout the group’s history of action for change (Center for Food Safety 1). Since the past fifteen years, the organization has been in a clash against industries for genetically modified organisms. Center for Food and Safety fought over the misuse of pesticides and how such chemicals could potentially damage all crops on a larger scale. CFS operated as a powerful voice for farmers and farm communities to defend them from large corporations that tried to usurp and destroy natural ways of agriculture. CFS took part in the first-ever U.S. Supreme Court case on genetic engineering crops by fighting the opponent Monsanto. Monsanto is the world’s leading agricultural biotechnology company that has placed scandalous prosecutions in order to destroy the fundamental ways American farmers farm. Monsanto illegally began his Genetically Engineering (GE) invasion on farmer’s crops over in Oregon. What Monsanto did not know was the extremely detrimental factors its genetically engineered wheat crops had on those local farmer’s crops. The GE wheat contaminated conventional wheat, making it unfit for consumption and profit to various markets that do not accept GE products. Such contamination of GE crops devastated multiple crop organizations, triggering over one billion in losses as well as economic burdens to local farmers. Center for Food Safety took lead in representing those farmers affected by the contaminated crops by pressing charges against Monsanto to compensate for his mistakes (Center for Food Safety 1). From a mishap like the previous case, CFS learned rapidly how important it was for food products to be labeled for what they were truly composed of. Speaking on behalf of all people who have the right to know what is in their food, Center for Food Safety pledged for the labeling of GMO foods.
The Food and Drug Administration is another group that holds the highest responsibility in all aspects of public health and places surveillance over the topic of food safety. President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act on January 4, 2011, which ensured the safety of the U.S. food supply by effectively responding to contamination and preventing it (U.S. Food and Drug 1). Although the recent act did reform food safety laws from over seventy years, the FDA found it plausible to demonstrate rules against the labeling for GMO plants. The FDA has collaborated with bioengineering companies, and on November 19, 2015, approved the production of genetically modified salmon. Despite the fact that evidence has proved the potential harms of GMO, the FDA continued to process GMO foods like salmon. Within a short time period, the FDA also released that labeling plants based on GMO or non-GMO would be unnecessary. Reactions to both procedures done by the FDA were inevitable. Wenona Hauter, an executive director of the Food and Water Watch organization in Washington, D.C. said, “This unfortunate, historic decision disregards the vast majority of consumers, many independent scientists, numerous members of Congress and salmon growers around the world, who have voiced strong opposition” (FDA Approves 1). What Hauter stated was extremely concerning to the health-conscious crowd, especially because what was once looked down upon has reached acceptance in the world today. The Center of Food Safety too, immediately responded to the FDA’s actions by announcing plans to sue the FDA so that the administration would be unable to qualify the production of such salmon (FDA Approves 1). As both sides began to set apart wide distances from each other, it was evident that the two parties must come to some sort of mutual agreement.
Both the Center for Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration do stand for a similar idea: to ensure food safety. However, the Center for Food Safety works to implement labeling of GMO foods, while the FDA colludes with corporate businesses on food technology to do the opposite. The best approach to solving this issue would be to make sure that both parties can feel comfortable around GMO food labeling. The Center for Food Safety wants to see food labels that say “GMO” or “Non-GMO”, for health-conscious people who are concerned with what is in their foods. Because signs that say GMO in obscenely large letters may scare consumers and those who are unconcerned with their health, labels can be reduced to a miniature size in a small corner of the nutrition’s facts. That way it is not clearly visible to be a discrepancy for those on the FDA’s side, who despise the idea of seeing “GMO” in large fonts all over food products. Instead, only those who are looking for whether or not their food is of organic composition will be able to find the “GMO/Non-GMO” warning sign on food product labels. Both the Center for Food Safety and FDA should be adequately satisfied with this type of compromise.
The first step to implementing this compromise would be to encourage markets to begin editing labels on food products. Labeling prices should be of minimal concern to business owners as research has shown that changes to a food product’s labels have not affected the prices paid by consumers. Dr. Andrew Dyke and Robert Whelan, economists of ECONorthwest in the Consumers Union, noted that “…requiring GMO food labels would cost a mere $2.30 per person per year, or less than a penny a day” (GMO Labeling 1). This advantage is beneficial to both CFS and the FDA, as prices do not have to be a factor in determining whether to continue with changing the labels. Because money is out of the picture, both groups can work together on how they want the new labels to look and move on from there. The FDA can then begin incorporating new label changes, such as reducing the font size on the nutrition’s facts, into common food necessities such as dairy, meat, and wheat products.
The second step requires both parties to decide which stores would introduce the newly designed labels. Though such procedures may take more than a few weeks to process through, the FDA can encourage common food source markets such as Walmart or Target to edit their labels with GMO placed in the most fitting spot. As a popular location for natural organic foods, Whole Foods is already on the route to ensuring proper labeling on all of their food products. Stores such as Whole Foods would readily accept the new labeling procedure. Recently a poll was conducted by the Huffington Post that showed how 82 percent of Americans prefer to have GMO foods labeled. Whole Foods President A.C. Gallo said, “Some of our suppliers have seen sale increases of 15 percent in foods we have labeled” (Hayes 1). Healthy appeals to buying food products that are labeled non-GMO will boost the esteem of buyers, keeping the stability of consumerism in those businesses. Finally, once the two groups have finished marketing their labels, they need to just execute precautions to ensure that both groups are in check.
Succinctly, the topic of food safety is very important to certain stakeholders such as the Center for Food Safety and the Food and Drug Administration. Although the two organizations do have similar mission statements, their actions to achieve those goals are quite different. While the CFS promoted GMO labels and the FDA did not, the best agreement the two groups can make would be to label GMO in a font size similar to that of the information in the nutrition’s facts. Such process could be the first step to neutralizing the argument between the fight for labeling GMO and having food products unlabeled. The second step would be for the two parties to decide on which stores would begin the implementing of the newly designed labels. The final step would require both groups to acknowledge each other’s limits to refrain from disturbing the agreements they have made. Overall, there is hope that the two groups can contribute to a compromise that could potentially change the course over the topic of food safety.
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