Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dr. Oz and the GMO Debate Part 1

On the December 7, 2010 episode of The Dr. Oz Show, the topic of genetically modified foods was addressed and some excellent questions were raised. If you missed the show, don't fret, the show has put the video segments on their website for all to see and share in three parts. I decided to also approach my blog discussion in these three parts, as dealing with it all in one post would be an incredible amount of information to digest in one sitting.

 Genetically Modified Foods, Pt. 1 (video clip is 4 minutes 34 seconds long)
Dr. Oz's intro to GMOs and the Non-GMO Project

Dr. Oz began his show about genetically modified foods by saying the fact that we hadn't noticed the "Non GMO product" label on the bread he displayed bothered him. Well, Dr. Oz, it bothered me too. I am a label looker! I am constantly searching for evidence of a food-stuff's value and I had never seen the label he showed before the airing of his show! I immediately took note of the website on the label and got to investigating.

The Non-GMO Project

The label to look for.
I am still trying to figure out how I missed this one. Here's a blurb from the Non-GMO Project website explaining who they are:
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization, created by leaders representing all sectors of the organic and natural products industry in the U.S. and Canada, to offer consumers a consistent non-GMO choice for organic and natural products that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies.
It sounds like a great idea, in fact, it sounds like exactly what I've been looking for, so, I asked, "Where the heck is it?" The website is very useful to this end as well as it provides links to find participating products sorted by brand, category and/or name. They also provide a link to find participating retailers by location and/or name.

While this is a step in the right direction, it is important to know how the non-profit organization determines which products get the label. In the Understanding Our Seal portion of the website, a brief explanation is given. I will summarize even further:
  • every ingredient is tested, but not necessarily every product.
  • testing happens at various stages in product development.
  • the test must indicate that the ingredient is below 0.9% GMO, which is evidently in line with the European Union laws.

Finally, if you are impressed, perhaps you feel that you will not buy GMO products now that they are labeled and you are informed. When asked the same question, 80% of the studio audience at The Dr. Oz Show said they wouldn't. The non-GMO Project wants to hear that commitment from you - they provided the Non-GMO Consumer Pledge on their website.

Before We Get Into the Panel & Part 2

While you are making that commitment, you may also want to do your part to stop new genetically modified foods from making it to the market. I have written about various opportunities to contact your representatives about genetically modified fish and organizations to follow for the latest information in the "food fight",  let today be the day you take one of those actions!

Next up: From The Dr. Oz Show - Genetically Modified Foods Part 2: A Panel of Experts on Both Sides

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