Testing GMO Foods

This piece is terrific. It’s about the testing that genetically modified foods go through in Canada, and the misconceptions people continue to have in that regard. It should be considered required reading.

The Right Chemistry: Marketing genetically modified foods requires substantial testing

Marketing a novel genetically modified food requires evidence that its chemical composition is substantially equivalent to the non-GMO version of the product, which can be demonstrated by subjecting a sample to chromatographic and spectroscopic analysis. These instrumental techniques produce a series of signals representing individual compounds that can then be compared with those from a conventional version of the food. Any significant difference would require labelling.

Such testing is not required when novel, conventionally produced foods are introduced into the marketplace…

Note also the great anecdote about the guy who shuns tomatoes because he’s not sure “which ones” have fish DNA that might trigger his allergy to fish. The correct answer, of course, is “none of them,” since there are no GM tomatoes on the market, let alone ones with fish genes.

Ethically, educating yourself is a prerequisite for participating in public debate.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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