You get what you pay for. We’ve all heard this mantra repeated again and again when we buy shoes, clothes, anything. But when it comes to our food, we know surprisingly little about what we’re getting, how it’s made, and even who’s making it—and the big food companies want to keep it that way. The DARK Act, which would ban GMO labeling requirements across the U.S., just passed through the Senate Agriculture Committee in a 14-6 vote, and will move on for a vote in the Senate soon.
Despite Americans' overwhelming support for mandatory labels on genetically engineered food, agribusinesses still find excuses to keep their customers in the dark, claiming that GMO labeling leads to higher food costs.
In reality, these businesses use faulty metrics and bad assumptions to produce inflated figures that support their agenda. Recently, the Corn Refiners Association, which represents agribusiness companies like Cargill, released a study claiming families will spend approximately $1,050 more per year on groceries because of Vermont’s new GMO labeling law. They claim the increased costs of separating GMO and non-GMO foods, as well as an increase in distribution costs, would push foods costs much higher. And they counted the cost of switching a huge portion of ingredients in processed foods to organic or non-GMO, something the Vermont law does not require.
What the study doesn’t mention is that many farmers are already separating crops to prevent cross-contamination in fields (though GMO contamination still happens), and that U.S. food companies are already doing business overseas in countries with GMO labeling laws in place. In fact, Japan, South Korea, and all 28 countries in the E.U. already require GMO labels.
The actual cost of labeling GMOs is small enough that most people wouldn’t notice the change in their grocery bill. According to an impartial study conducted in the United Kingdom, GMO labeling would only cost a household $.33 to $5.58 a year.
If the numbers point to anything, it’s that the biotech industry and big food companies are putting profits before people. If these companies really have nothing to hide, then they should let us know what we’re really buying. Let your senator know you want to find out what’s really in our food.