In the contemporary, there are several hot topics and issues flooding and influencing the food industry, such as food safety and technology. One of the main issues of interest is the case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food industry and their labeling. This issue has come to be a hot button aspect for the food service sector and hospitality industry as a whole with the main point being deliberated as to whether parties in the food service sector ought to be required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label GMOs. There is also the linked issue of what role the government would play and at the end of the day, the impact on the farmers who are purposing to feed the populaces across the world. In several nations, this mandate for labeling foods is there as well as in the United States, with states such as the State of Vermont enacting a legislation that demands the labeling of genetically modified foods, obtainable for retail trade by mid-2016. This noticeably poses problems and difficulties for manufacturers dispensing and handing out the same product to numerous states (Jalonick, 2015).The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does offer backing for the voluntary labelling of genetically modified organizations and have gone ahead to issue regulation and leadership for the food industry.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have attained a great deal of attention from consumers, different industries, and the government, owing to its increased use in the food industry and the heightened deliberation and argument over its safety. In definition, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines Genetically Modified Organisms as organisms that have their genetic material changed in such a manner that does not take place as expected in nature (Craig, 2015). The food industry has been facing this issue of late with the question looming as to whether food products that are genetically engineered are still safe or not. This is increasing with diners requesting transparency in the menu and also from the supplier brands. In addition, consumers have also constantly demanded for transparency with the need for menu labels, for instance non-GMO, GMO free as well as no additives in the menus or food products (Craig, 2015).
The labeling of GMO is mandatory in over sixty nations, but not in the United States. Adversaries to mandatory labeling in the United States every so often assert that it deceitfully points toward foods with genetically engineered constituents being hazardous and harmful to the consumers. On the other hand, the advocates of this mandatory labeling, encompassing the Consumers Union, make the argument that even if there is no concrete proof or justification with respect to the influence of GMOs on health, consumers have a right to know the constituents and components contained within their foods. For instance, the Consumers Union insists that it is imperative for producers to label foods that are frozen, encompassing those that are homogenized and irradiated. In general, they proclaim that the labeling of GMOs is an additional piece of information that is beneficial to the consumers (Consumer Reports, 2015). It is not appalling that a great deal of the opposition and antagonism to the labeling of GMOs emanates from the manufacturers of GMO seeds and the food service industry. This is for the reason that they have spent a great deal of capital to get their status out to the general public. Some of these parties include Mosanto, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and DuPont (Consumer Reports, 2015).
The response to the adaptation of this issue within the industry has been appalling. For instance, late last year, subsequent to the FDA mandating the labeling of the GMOs, the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA) went on to sue Vermont in an endeavor to overturn the state’s enacted legislation of labelling. In addition, the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America is part of the advocates who were constantly pushing for the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would obstruct different states from enacting and implementing the GE labelling regulations altogether (Mercola, 2014). In addition, according to Mercola (2014), one of the latest tactic and line of attack employed by the industry is instigating a collaborated and well worked out attack against Vandana Shiva, who is one of the most well-respected and voiced environmentalists and activists who are against genetically modified organisms and crops.
Whereas the food service industry is fast shifting in the direction of transparency and clarity, doing away with additives and perceiving GMO-free products to meet the predilections and inclinations of the consumers, the government has shifted in the contrasting direction with the most current GMO regulation. Earlier on in July this year, the United States House of Representatives undertook a calculated and audacious move to hinder and obstruct any obligatory labeling of food products made with crops that are genetically engineered. In turn, the House of Representatives nominated and enacted the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. In particular, this bipartite bill backed by Representative Mike Pompeo proscribes states, such as Vermont from authorizing GMO labeling and generates a system of certification that is voluntary at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Craig, 2015). The enormous part of this undertaking was the annexation of an endowment that state and local regulations necessitating labeling will be no longer authorized, bring to a standstill states such as Vermont lifeless in their trajectories. In addition, manufacturers in the food service sector continue to be adamant in their argument that no scientific discovery has proven or made a validation that GMOs are harmful in any sort of form or manner (Craig, 2015).
There is a lot that the industry is undertaking to address this contemporary hot subject matter. In accordance to Mercola (2014), in the past two years or so, the industry that advocates for genetically engineered foods has increased the level of spending with the endeavor of preventing and impeding the labeling of GMOs in the United States. For instance between 2012 and 2014, the Grocery Manufacturers Association as well as Mosanto, who are big players in the industry, effectively obstructed the labeling legislation of GMO in more than thirty nations, by expending an excess of $100 million (Mercola, 2014). These funds employed emanated from genetically engineered seed, pesticide and processed food industries. Other companies, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and DuPont, have also joined to become one of the heavy spenders in the effort to lobby against the labeling of GMOs. This intense increase in expenditure to ensure that there is the sustenance of genetically engineered (GE) foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), owes to the fact that a number of states, such as Vermont, have been increasingly acting for the labeling of GMOs. Players within the industry, such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), together with the Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers, have risen up and filed a law suit against the state of Vermont, which has eventually gone their way (Mercola, 2014).
The labeling of genetically modified organisms in food products could continue to have an influence in the industry in the future. At present, voluntary licensed labels permit and facilitate consumers to evade genetically engineered foods. More so, statistics indicate that in the contemporary, only one out of four consumer individuals consider genetically engineered foods to be safe and harmless. The inference of this in the future is that the mandatory labelling of GMOs will all the more have a disparaging impact by diminishing the market share and revenues that go to producers of genetically engineered or modified foods (Sexton, 2012). Going forward, more upsetting compared to the label itself, could be the cost incurred in evading the label on non-GE foods that may well on the other hand encompass bit amounts of genetically engineered constituents.
The superior purity standards in the food products instigated by the California law will most likely necessitate and force farmers to invest in another set of planting, reaping, storage, means of transport, processing, and packing equipment for GE manufacture so as to elude revenue losses and burden from soiling their non-GE operations or those of rivals. Taking into consideration that the expenses of risk reduction by large proliferate exponentially in the level of safety, the severe purity standard set by the law in California might be a nail in the coffin to GE producers who could spread the extraordinary fixed expenses of contamination evasion across only the low levels of manufacture that the market would primarily support (Sexton, 2012). The labeling requirements would instigate increased costs for farmers in relation to the probable crop manufacture and segregation requirements. It is quite improbable for farmers to be able to engage in these extra costs devoid of any impact trickling further down the value chain of the food service sector and industry. These rises in expenses for the farmers are most likely going to lead to increased prices for the consumers in general. It is considered that in the future, if this labeling of GMOs does go on, households will experience an average yearly increase in their grocery expenses. In addition, the mandatory labeling of GE food products will influence the availability of food as well as the expenses in the grocery stores visited by consumers (Sexton, 2012). There is a great worry and concern that the right to know regarding GE in food products might influence the right to choose for other individuals and even worse, their right to eat such products (Sexton, 2012). In accordance to Consumer Reports (2015), one of the ways in which the industry would deal with this issue is that by experiencing decreased revenue prospects and increased fixed expenses, there might be the abandonment of genetically engineered foods altogether. Farmers would cease planting genetically engineered crops and perhaps this would lead to cessation of research as well.
In conclusion, taking into consideration recent events, there is revealed indecision of federal labeling legislation up until the present moment, and the fact is that it is totally impractical to anticipate businesses to willingly label when their products do contain genetically modified components. Therefore, it is obligatory upon producers and eating places to respond to the beckoning call from the public to have transparency with respect to whether the products are genetically modified or not. Devoid of constant and universal labeling regulations, consumers will end up trusting the products that voluntarily display whether or not they contain GMO (Craig, 2015).
Consumer Reports. (2015). GMO foods: What you need to know. Retrieved 22 December 2015 from:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/02/gmo-foods-what-you-need-to-know/index.htm
Craig, B. (2015). The Many Sides Of GMO Legislation. MenuTrinfo. Retrieved 22 December 2015 from: https://www.menutrinfo.com/the-many-sides-of-gmo-legislation/
Jalonick, M. C. (2015). GMO Labeling Is a Contentious Issue: Food industry pushing Congress to thwart mandatory GMO labeling by the end of the year. U.S. News. Retrieved 22 December 2015 from: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/12/08/food-industry-pushing-to-thwart-gmo-labeling-by-end-of-year
Mercola. (2014). “The Future of Food” — GMOs, Gene Patenting, and the Corporatization of Our Food Supply. Retrieved 22 December 2015 from:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/11/gmo-food-labeling.aspx
Sexton, S. (2012). How California’s GMO Labeling Law Could Limit Your Food Choices and Hurt the Poor. Freakonomics. Retrieved 22 December 2015 from:http://freakonomics.com/2012/06/22/how-california%E2%80%99s-gmo-labeling-law-could-limit-your-food-choices-and-hurt-the-poor/
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