WASHINGTON – In a recent television interview, former USDA secretary Dan Glickman laid out the debate over whether genetically modified food should be labeled. He also talked about the confusion generated by this debate and the misconceptions on both sides of the debate.
Here is what Glickman had to say:
“Genetically modified foods, particularly seeds, they are not miracle items. I think they help production agriculture. But they are not going to save the world themselves. Or hunger. There are many other techniques that are also needed.
“There is an old expression, ‘For every complicated problem there is a simple – and a wrong solution.’ That is really true here. Proponents of GMO argue that GMOs are going to solve all the problems of world hunger, that they are perfectly healthy and you should be labeling. The opponents believe they are not natural, that they shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff, even if they are not harmful we don’t know for sure, and a lot of the opponents want to see them banned. A lot of the pro-labeling folks hope that this would reduce demand for these products and some people genuinely feel it is a legitimate item for labeling as well.
My feeling is, there is no scientific reason for labeling these products, but ultimately it is the consumers who have to decide if they want GMOs labeled or not. We have some labeling mandated by the government now. We have a whole separate part of agriculture called organic, and organic is an indirect way of doing exactly what the pro-label forces want to do here.”