Genetic modification in principle refers to ;any change to the heritable traits of an organism achieved by intentional manipulation. ” This is a highly controversial topic and issue. The United States of America, unlike many countries around the world, has given private enterprise the option to voluntarily Implement an appropriate label that justifies what food products currently contain. Most other developed nations have imposed government regulations that include mandatory labeling of products that contain any traces of genetically modified organisms. The decision whether or not o label genetically modified food products is an important one and one that may have consequences for consumer perceptions and consequently the sale, both of import and export, of genetically modified and non-genetically modified food products. ” (Hillier, 2012) DISCUSSION: There are many individuals and groups that can greatly benefit from the creation of a universal label along with numerous groups that would see it as a detriment. Let’s look at a variety of groups – social, ethnic and minority. Social Group – Consumers There have been several similar surveys that have been conducted that have
Indicated that a majority of Americans wall/would support a mandatory labeling about the growth of genetically modified organisms in our food system. Consumers are demanding more information and transparency from these biotechnology companies that alter food crop species through gene and DNA manipulation. Food producing companies currently are not required to label all products that use genetically modified organisms. Those in favor of a mandatory labeling system highlight that it is a consumers’ right to know what is in their food, what they are buying and what they are consuming.
The argument could be made that consumers are being deceived by a false advertising with their groceries. The general idea oaf mandatory labeling system is so that consumers would be able to make informed buying decisions. A mandatory labeling system would allow consumers to identify and navigate away from food products that can cause them problems, I. E. Contains gluten, certain allergens and contains dairy. These examples are ones that are currently in the marketplace and are there to help consumers identify and associate with products that may harm them or help them.
Along with giving consumers the ability to identify packaged goods and ingredients that may or may not contain Smog’s, an additional positive that consumers would benefit from labeling would be the transparency that comes with it. Consumers would be able to consumers to detect which products have had past contamination issues. Contamination is very much a risk in terms of producing genetically modified crops. Genetically modified crops pose the risk to contaminate adjacent crops with relative ease.
Once this stuff gets out into nature, it becomes extremely difficult to control where it goes and how it parade. This issue isn’t only a topic in the United States, to help consumers abroad make informed decisions; there have been several developed nations including the European Union, Australia, Japan, China and South Korea that have mandatory labeling laws. As stated by Clandestineness, the European Union legislation is one of the most stringent, requiring labeling of food products, food ingredients and additives that contain authorized genetically engineered ingredients.
As stated by SeepГlГnine, These regulations also recognize the reality that conventional food rodents may be accidentally contaminated during harvesting, storage, production, or transportation. Many people believe that there should not be required SMOG labeling in the United States even though many countries around the world currently do. Opponents of mandatory labeling point out the expense and logistical difficulties that labeling could invoke. It is also acknowledged that currently the facts show that no significant differences have been found between genetically engineered and conventional foods.
The opposition attempts to make this a business decision while he decision to label products mandatory by the government is purely an environmental and health decision for consumers. Ethnic Group – Koreans A recent survey of American and Korean undergraduate students at the University of Missouri produced some noteworthy differences in attitudes toward genetically modified (MM) foods. The majority of both groups were concerned about health risks from GM foods; the proportion of Korean students (87%) was much higher than American students (58%).
The differences in attitudes may be attributable to recent exposure to SMOG news by the Korean media. In 2001, South Korea mandated babbling of foods containing genetically modified (MM) ingredients. The mandatory response to negative consumer attitudes toward Smog among Korean consumers following an exposed GM tofu scare. The issue of labeling in the United States remains largely contentious due to uncertainty regarding consumer response to GM food content information. It is possible that information provided through labeling and recent press in Korea may have reduced acceptance of GM foods among Korean consumers.
Previous comparisons of consumer attitudes toward GM foods among Asian and US consumers have yielded mixed results. Consumers in the United States seem the least concerned about negative health effects from GM foods, whereas consumers in Southeast Asia appear more concerned (Cheer, 2002). There is also little consensus regarding the relationship between health concern in general and attitudes toward GM foods. Studies have compared attitudes toward genetically modified foods among Korean and American college students and further compared attitudes among students who are more future- and more present-oriented regarding health.
The results from the survey are of particular interest, given that Korean students were exposed to GM labeling and to a broader media coverage regarding unlabeled foods in 1999 (Gawk, 1999), whereas American students may have been exposed to more limited specific information on GM food content. Minority Group – Farmers A group that has been continually forgotten in this debate has been the farmers of these agriculture products. These loyal and local family farm operations are Just trying to make a living farming the land. The land they farm that many families have been on for several generations.
Are their questions and concerns being heard? There is a constant guessing game that businesses play for whether consumers will continue to buy products that contain genetically modified products if and when they become labeled. What if the extreme happens and products that contain some sort of bioengineering element on the market totally folds and crashes. What happens to these farms? Do they make to switch from a conventional operation to an organic operation? Is that even going to matter? Personally, if we see our agriculture industry suffer, we will all be affected in some way.
These questions must be asked and taken into consideration. A report written by Chambers discusses the views and opinions that the farmers have taken on the subject. He states that most farmers would be against the labeling of products due to the fact that the operational budgets would increase if they were to change their ways. From a consumer standpoint, this would be concern because if costs increase at the beginning of the supply food chain, costs would increase all the way up the chain. With this consumers would feel the burden on their wallets at the end of the day.
SUMMARY: There are several perspectives to look into when considering the implications that a mandatory labeling law could pose. We have our consumers, our farmers, minority groups and a host of many more to involve; they will all have to be taken into account when considerations begin. Social groups like consumers are the group that seems to come away with the most to gain from an implementation of labeling laws. They would become more informed, to hopefully make better buying decisions, since this is what they have been fighting for.
It is also quite possible the consumers could face the brunt of price increases on their favorite products in return for wanting more away with possibly the most to lose from an implementation. The labeling laws may not pose the biggest threats to farmers, but if any backlash from the labeling were to occur, this group the farmers would feel it. Hypothetically speaking, if farmers where to switch their operations from a conventional to an organic operation, the costs associated to these producers would almost be enough to put them out of business.
CONCLUSION: The conclusion is that the implementation of a mandatory labeling law is problematic for many parties. Having evaluated the various and diverse stakeholders in the food and beverage industry, this is the clear conclusion. The development of a brand-new labeling system would simply Just become a giant headache. The conclusion is that those resources could be better spent educating and informing instead of developing and replacing what is currently in place. RECOMMENDATIONS: There are many ideas to propose when it comes to recommending a law that could possibly change the landscape of an entire industry.
A law that would make it a mandatory practice to label food products and ingredients if there contain any elements or traces of genetically modified organisms. There are several general ideas to propose. For the sake of simplicity, any labeling scheme that would be proposed to implement should consist of one universal label. A single label would identify a product that does not contain a genetically modified organism. The reasoning behind this recommendation is to not provide unfair warning or scare.
A label consisting of “contains ingredients that are genetically modified” would present consumers with the perspective that this product may have a risk associated with it. By choosing a choice like “does not contain genetically modified organisms” it would give a sense of relief when making buying decisions. Unfortunately, with this proposal, the term organic may become obsolete and be replaced by a label. Having a universal label would also save an immense amount of time and resources. Having individual states come up with their own labeling systems and laws has the opportunity to be a grand mistake, affecting everyone in the supply chain.
Having a nationwide label would eliminate many problems that would be associated with states and their own labeling laws. Look at a hypothetical situation that could put into perspective what might be if states have their own labeling regulations. The states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa each have their own labeling laws, each providing similarly worded labels, but are all different. A small regional producer of organic milk based in North Dakota works with a distributor that works out of South Dakota that serves the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
To begin at the beginning of the supply chain we have the regional producer of organic milk. This producer must comply with the individual laws from these states. The producer would have to develop and purchase brand new packaging for each state, to be in compliance, which is quite the expense for a small regional operation. The next rung on the supply chain ladder is the distribution company. The distributing company would have the added burden of double and triple checking that the correct orders, with the correct label scheme, is delivered to their appropriate customers.
This is ultra-important considering delivery vehicles can make drop-offs in multiple states a day. Example would be La Crosses, WI to Rochester, MN to Lansing, IA all in one day. A non-universal label would create an happen, products wouldn’t be put on shelves, and trucks would have to perform UN- forecasted and unplanned pick-ups and redelivers, all at the added expense of Hess distribution companies. Moving on to the next level of the supply chain is the retail stores. Retail locations wouldn’t have as much liability as the distribution companies would.
At the retail store level, these businesses would have to train their associates about the new laws that have been implemented. These store associates would have to be able to speak and explain to customers about what these new laws mean and how they will affect them. This could become problematic for businesses that are located within cities that are on state border lines, I. E. Fargo, ND and Moorhens, MN. The supply chain ends with the consumer. Consumers will have to become the most educated of the group because they are the ones who will be purchasing these products.
There would be concern the consumers will see higher priced products because more time and resources are being spent at the beginning of the supply chain. Time and resources are the biggest concern for all levels of the supply chain, from producers to consumers. The best recommendation to the topic of implementing a mandatory labeling law is to not implement a labeling law. Time and resources should be more wisely spent educating and informing the general public. By implementing a label law, time and resources would go to waste because we would be substituting a label for a word.