One Seacoast Mom’s Perspective
Foster’s Daily Democrat, 9/7/13
GMO labeling: One Seacoast mom’s practical pro-choice perspective
Saturday, September 7, 2013
As a mother of three small children, I am concerned about good nutrition and a healthy diet. I like to buy locally grown produce and organic foods whenever I can, even though this type of shopping is not always the most convenient or economical.
I appreciate the fact that as demand grows, it’s becoming easier to find organic and non-GMO products at my local supermarket. But while I support and purchase some organic and non-GMO products I still bristle at the impracticality of imposing a law that requires all products made with GMOs to be labeled as such. Products that don’t use GMOs already proudly proclaim that fact on their packaging, as do the certified organic products.
Should a GMO labeling law pass, mandating all products from private label rice to brand name breakfast cereals be labeled differently, manufacturers would need to design and print new packages at a cost they would pass along to the consumer in the form of price increases. Some manufacturers might stop selling in our state altogether, limiting our choices and hurting Massachusetts businesses as people head out-of-state to buy the products that were once available at the local Market Basket.
Furthermore, who is going to pay to inspect to make sure all of these products are properly labeled as GMO? I don’t think the state has enough funds in the budget to take on such a huge responsibility without increasing taxes more. And what happens to those that don’t comply? Will they be fined and make the changes? Or will they simply stop selling in our state? What happens when costs go up but our income cannot keep up? What does this mean for our state economically? Does state spending on an unnecessary labeling process take priority over education, social programs or upkeep of our bridges and roads?
To me, it seems far more efficient to focus on the positive and support the current process of labeling our GMO-free and organic products. This method has worked very well for Whole Foods: they have grown like crazy over the last decade. Maybe we can even save some money to help local businesses and encourage growth that will ultimately create more choices for us in the future.
Some of my good friends are very passionate and emotional about this issue, but I wonder if all the factors and implications of such a massive undertaking are being considered when they read a blog post or a Facebook update. The current process seems to be working quite well for both consumers and producers that offer GMO-free products — a process that represents natural, free market evolution.
With our economy still weak, I think any decision that adds cost and increases risks to our economy should be avoided. In this state especially, we are proud to make our own choices and across the board mandates such as a new labeling law seems both very impractical idea and an insult to our collective intelligence.