What is ‘negative labeling’ of genetically modified foods?

February 6, 2012

My three favorite food groups are salsa, salsa, and more salsa. I prefer to have a beautiful garden of fresh tomatoes and onions and peppers to pluck and prepare my own salsa. But I don’t. So I use Green Mountain Gringo Salsa, the ‘hot’ variety. And I am forever happy when Dr. Oz talks about healthy eating and I find that my salsa qualifies. It has some sea salt in it but that’s the last ingredient in the list of fresh vegetables.

And then there is the message, ‘No Genetically Modified Ingredients’. I think they mean to say, ‘No Genetically Engineered Ingredients’. I think that because what I believe is true about the salsa I love is that the ingredients have not been genetically altered with the DNA of one organism combined with another. No salmon in the tomatoes, for example. [read about this here:   http://www.pbs.org/wnet/dna/pop_genetic_gallery/index.html ].

This method of informing consumers about GM content in food is called negative labeling — it tells us something isn’t present. In cases where there is no ‘negative label,’ we can reach the conclusion that there is such content in the food. We don’t know what. We don’t know how much. But we also don’t know based on any systematic research conducted over time whether we need to know.


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