Questions 1-11 refer to the following information.
A new type of food has entered the consumer and legislative 1 arenas, they are the GMO (genetically modified organism). A GMO is any type of organism that has been altered through the use of genetic engineering. There are two main types of GMOs: process-based and product-based. A process-based GMO is one that has been enhanced through biotechnology for productivity or yield. In this type of GMO, the end-use has not itself been altered, only the process by which it is 2 produced has been changed. A product-based GMO is one that has been enhanced through biotechnology in a way that alters the end-use of that product. 3
Currently, products that are GMOs, of either type, 4 is not required to be labeled as GMOs. However, there is a bill before the United States Congress that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to require a “contains GMO” label on such products.
The proponents of the bill believe a lack of labeling 5 is bad to the American public in three fundamental ways. First, the lack of labels hides the full extent of nonnatural techniques utilized in producing GMOs, thereby limiting consumers’ full knowledge of products. Second, this knowledge deficit prevents consumers from not only recognizing the health risks of consuming such products 6 and understanding the true extent of those risks. Third, with no labels to guide them, consumers cannot confidently choose products that align with their beliefs concerning animal treatment, environmental stewardship, and 7 what religion they are.
(1) The arguments against requiring food labels could be characterized as less idealistic and more pragmatic than those promoting food labels. (2) As opponents of the bill point out, food labels in general are notoriously both misleading and uninformative. (3) Adding a label that reads “contains GMO” would provide no insight into what “GMO” means or why consumers might need to be warned against it. (4) The general confusion resulting from food labels is due in part to the limited space on which to provide information as well as the consumers’ limited knowledge of what they are reading. (5) The wording proposed in the bill would not address either of these issues. 8
Opponents also argue that most foods Americans consume have contained GMOs since the early 1990s. 9 More than half of the corn, soybean, and canola crops in the U.S. have genetically modified traits. By this point, the label would need to be placed on nearly all products, thus making its utility very limited. One might as well put a label on every food product in the grocery store that says “contains food.” Regardless of 10 if the bill is passed, 11 information about how food is grown is available if people just look it up.