GENTECH archive 8.96-97
Labeling of GMO's and NON-GMO's: A Marketing Coup For Natural Foods
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- Subject: Labeling of GMO's and NON-GMO's: A Marketing Coup For Natural Foods
- From: email@example.com (Peter M. Ligotti)
- Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 16:24:33 -0700
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>I agree with Brian Tokar - If the American consumer were aware
>that genetically engineered foods are about to become the "norm",
>understood the level of understanding of the risks and realized
>that they are not necessary, there would be a demand for labeling.
>The problem is lack of awareness.
Regarding Andy's idea and GE and Non-GE labeling, many critical
points have been overlooked.
It will be DIFFERENT in different nations and in different situations.
For example, in Austria and Germany the masses of people seem to
be very well aware of the issue of genetically engineered food.
Perhaps in an environment where most people are very aware of
the situation, and where most people have at least SOME opinion about
GE food, it would be much easier and a much better strategy
to go for labeling of the actual GE food as we have been doing.
(and of course also go for a ban of Frankenfood)
Regarding conflict between labeling and a ban,
I want to add that there will be a high probability that we will
have disasters (NEW DISEASES, Etc.) whereby the genetically
engineered food will be suspected as the cause by some
significant percentage of the
population. It will at that point be easier to bring about a
ban after disease and disaster have broken out on a large scale.
This is a very unfortunate but true fact of life right now: Sometimes
people need a disaster to manifest in order for them to wake up.
Of course we want a ban now, but it is very difficult to get the
massive grass roots support we need from consumers in the U.S.
I am all for a ban and some consumer organizations are focusing on the
ban. But until that ban becomes effective people have a right to avoid
the Frankenfood right now through labeling of GE or Non-GE food.
In the U.S. right now, food on almost every single aisle is labeled
"fat-free," or "low-fat," or "low sodium," or "no added sodium."
It would be great if the safe food was also honestly marked:
"GMO-free," or "low-GMO," or "no added GMO's"
At least it would force people to ask: "What is a GMO???"
if they don't already know.
In Europe, people know. In the U.S., they don't have a clue.
This would be an absolutely ingenious marketing coup
for safe food producers in the U.S.!!!
Whole Foods Market in the U.S. is in fact beginning a
marketing campaign, at least in California, and perhaps nationally,
to take advantage of the fact that they have
a greater percentage of non-GMO food than the larger food markets.
They have not labeled the food they know as safe to be
NON-GMO, or NOT genetically engineered, but that would be
the brilliant next step. The producing
companies will support this, because they
will get more market share. Who cares why they do it, if it creates
greater awareness of the problem.
I understand Brian Tokar's distaste for the idea.
I understand that it will allow a large group of the population to
think that now Frankenfood is the norm. Sorry folks, but we
have to face reality. Because of the support of the chemical and
genetic engineering industry by the U.S. government, it will be
extremely difficult to get labeling of GE products in an effective
manner in the near future, although we have to try. I want it, believe
me. I understand Brian's distaste in allowing the genetically engineered
food to be considered the norm, but we have to face the facts.
It is the norm now, unfortunately. The GE food has been thoroughly
mixed in with processed food by now,
ESPECIALLY IN THE U.S., and it would be extremely difficult to
acurately label the food which is of unknown origin whether it is
GE or NON-GE. Food which is of unknown GMO content should be
labeled as such: "Unknown GMO content"
To label the non-GE food will create an incredible market niche in
the U.S. and will create greater awareness of the issue world-wide.
Marketing people would seize upon the idea as a way to
create product differentiation while doing some good for the world.
I say whatever will create greater awareness about this issue
is a good thing.
In conclusion, I feel we should do all of these things, taking into
account different needs and requirements of the SPECIFIC nations and
situations in different markets.
Label the genetically engineered food (Especially in Europe where this is
realistic and practical in the short run)
Label the NOT genetically engineered food. (We also have to live in the
present in the U.S. and try to choose food that is safe for today,
for tommorow, for next week. To bring up cost considerations regarding
that they will be more expensive in my opinion is foolish.
Costs being higher will be because of increasing awareness of
the problem and increasing demand for
safe food. Is this not what we want???
Go for a total ban at the same time. When we do achieve a ban, we
will need to know which products to leave on the shelves and which to
throw away. Labeling the GE and NON-GE food will give us clarity
when that day finally arrives.
We also have to make sure that the organic food remains GE free.
(Congratulations to Europe on that recent vote)
But when the awareness of the GE problem increases worldwide, we will
have shortages of safe food. Labeling the GE and non-GE food will
increase awareness worldwide. I feel your idea was brilliant, Andy.
We can even have a new category of food: Non-GMO
This would be for food that is not up to standards to be organic, but
where the original seeds are known to be safe.