Updated on 27 December 2012
So, who should one give weight to - the pro-GM lobby, or the anti-GM activists? Just to break the impasse, it is easy to argue that the best approach is let the consumer decide. That brings "food labeling" into picture. The industry in the developed countries may still be able to comply with labeling rules but what about countries like India, China and the rest of Asia. Is it practical or even realistic to attempt mandatory labeling?
Is it sustainable for small businesses to comply with such regulations? And what about the increase in cost of the end product? Food testing and labeling costs will ultimately be passed onto the end-consumer. Does the consumer really want labeling across all food products processed or farm-fresh?
In California, which could have been the first state in the US to pass a law, in 2012, making labeling mandatory, the "Right to Know" initiative (Proposition 37) failed to garner required votes to pass the bill. I, for one, would really like to know how many people buy from the shelves lined with prohibitively expensive organic food products at supermarkets and what drives them to do so? In fact, what really is organic?
Is it just absence of pesticide residue or something more? My humble opinion is: let science lead the way. I am saying this even though I myself follow with concern the anti-GM reports and case studies. Science is the way out of this impasse. The more we know. The better it is.
Let me also add here that in 2013 among the trends to watch out for: GM food is expected to show positive movement largely on the regulatory front.