Let the Buyer Beware but Informed

The Organic Consumers Association has started a campaign that could do some good in checking some of the egregious abuses of the public good coming from the GMO industry. They have drafted an open letter to Natural Food Stores and Coops calling upon them to label all food not certified organic or certified non-GMO as possibly containing GMOs and all meats not certified organic or humanely raised as likely coming from a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation, the worst of the factory farms).

The lack of adequate labeling of potentially dangerous, or in some cases demonstrably dangerous, GMO ingredients is criminal. GMOs have been proven time and again to carry a set of risks to consumer health, not to mention environmental health, that is not shared by conventionally bred plants and animals. If they are going to be allowed on the market then consumers should at the very least know whether or not they are buying and eating them. While it is estimated that 60% of the food on grocery stores shelves in America contain GMOs only 20% of American consumers believe they have eaten food containing GMOs. An informed citizenry is something we should all be able to get behind, regardless of our feelings about whether GMOs are something we personally want to eat or not.

Buyer beware as saying is very powerful, and yet to some it goes ignored. You can only place so much trust in the product, whatever it may be, as it is offered to you. Sometimes further research can reveal you could be making a better decision, and there might not be any way to tell other than you figuring it out on your own. Take home insurance and open peril insurance options for example. Who you decide to work with to get your property insured is extremely important. You can be looking at spending more than you have to for years, or even worse, you could be looking at an insurance company that will not help you out of a bind should tragedy strike. Perhaps it would be too far-fetched to assume these companies are out to take advantage of you, but it would be wise to make the best informed decision possible with so many options available to you.

Customer appeals to natural food stores and coops sounds like an easy way to start a market led effort to label GMO foods, raise awareness about their ubiquity in America, and raise awareness of what the certified organic label stands for. A recent New York Times poll suggests that nearly 90% of US consumers want GMO foods labeled. Hopefully the many groups fighting for a regulatory fix find success but in the meantime a little bit of market based pressure from below can only help.

If you want to send your local grocers a copy of the letter you can find it on the OCA site, here: OCA: Open Letter to Natural Food Stores and Coops

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