Genetically Modified Organisms – Are They Really Bad for You?

Many of our favorite foods are now labeling their boxes with a non-genetically modified tag.

General Mills Inc. recently announced they will no longer use genetically engineered ingredients in Cheerios. Mike Siemienas, General Mills Spokesperson says, “Non- GMOs, (also known as genetically modified organisms) are simple and easy to use for Cheerios because of its unique and simple character, but not as simple for other General Mills cereals.”

Other companies including Ben and Jerry’s who say they will use non-GMOs. But one expert at UGA says non-GMO labeling is simply a fad.

Dr. Wayne Parrot is an expert and professor in plant breeding and genomics at UGA. He warns consumers to be wary of those that support food labeling.

“It kind of offends me that they are misleading the public,” says Parrot. “But from a health prospective they are as healthy as non-GMO food, in certain cases they’ve been found to be healthier.”

But the labeling advocates believe the GMO controversy is not a matter of science, but simply the ability to provide transparency into the foods we eat.

Just Label It, also known as JLI is a national labeling advocacy group working to push a national requirement for food labeling. Jason Rano, Director of Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group is partner of JLI.

Rano says that in regards to the GMO controversy, “The issue isn’t surrounding the potential health impacts of genetically engineered food. It’s about giving consumers the right to know what’s in their food.”

Ben and Jerry’s, a JLI partner, supports mandatory labeling of GMOs as the ice cream giant boasts of natural ingredients. But natural, comes at a price.

Maria Antonetti, fundraising coordinator for the downtown Athens Ben and Jerry’s says that even though Ben and Jerry’s is expensive, customers get what they pay for. And the timing of the Ben and Jerry’s GMO campaign happens to align with the current GMO craze.

While the labeling controversy is two-sided, the science behind GMOs remains consistent.

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