Elitism and freedom of choice: the GMO label debate

I don’t worry much about genetically modified food. If I see a teenage mutant ninja chicken next to a regular chicken, I’ll just buy which ever is cheaper. I don’t think it’ll hurt me or anything. A lot of people feel differently, though, and that’s why I take issue with companies’ refusing to label GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The law requiring labels was passed last year, but it’s a back-door deception. Companies can put a scanning label that people have to scan with their phones. A lot of people don’t have smart phones to do that.

I got into this discussion last year on a science magazine I follow on Facebook; the article was about a push to require that GMOs be labeled. All of the commenters were against that. My opinion was that buyers deserve to know what they’re buying, even if you think they’re wrong about it. The most common response was them calling me a backwards idiot.

One fellow did have a good compromise, though. His idea was for companies to start using a “no-GMOs” label, sort of like an organic label. Of course, this would require some oversight and definition. The organic label means absolutely nothing because of corporations buying the right to slap the label on their industrial products.

The same is likely to be true if we ever see a “no GMO” label, only worse because the people in charge have very little respect for the opinions of those who don’t want to eat it. While I don’t agree, I can certainly understand why people might hesitate to trust corporations to mess with DNA strands when they’re still having trouble with computer coding. And even if I didn’t understand, that wouldn’t matter because it doesn’t hurt me. This isn't an issue like gay marriage where people are trying to force others to comply with their own religious beliefs; it's about their freedom to choose and know what they're putting in their own bodies.

The only downside to a required GMO label would be to impede business ventures, business ventures which count on customers not being aware of what they’re buying. Basically, these businesses are opposed to the GMO label because they want to make money off of deception. And besides that, you’ve got a lot of people who have no problem letting these companies deceive people just because they think they’re smarter.