The truth on the tag

Camyle Cryderman Managing Editor

Camyle Cryderman
Managing Editor

Food labeling needs to be regulated and properly enforced by the government 

It is a fact that nourishment and substance are necessary to stay alive, and many people try to provide the best nutrition they can for themselves. In order to do this, they rely on the nutrition facts labels provided by the food company. They trust that what they see on a package is truthful; sadly, we Americans are being deceived.

One of the main pieces of information being hidden from Americans on food labels is genetic modification.

Ninety percent of certain foods groups, such as corn and soybeans, are genetically modified in today’s society, according to a 2014 Washington Post online article. Yet, America has no federal laws enforcing the labeling of genetically engineered food, so this will not be known when shopping at the grocery store. There is no excuse for this lack of information. Genetically modified foods have been around for over 20 years, allowing plenty of time for the government to see its harm and enact mandatory labeling. As stated by the Center for Food Safety website, 62 countries have already made labeling genetically engineered foods a law. These countries range from Ethiopia to the United Kingdom, but for some reason, the United States has not caught on.

Based on a 2014 study conducted by biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute, ingesting genetically modified foods presents many health risks, especially to children. Using rats as a test group, it was discovered that those who were fed genetically engineered soy had much higher infant mortality rates. They also had drastically increased infertility in both males and females compared to those that were fed natural soy. It can be assumed that similar results would be present in humans. Whether or not a product is genetically modified, it should be required to be labeled on all foods.

Food labeling needs to be regulated and properly enforced by the government

Food labeling needs to be regulated and properly enforced by the government

While firms not labeling food accurately are deceiving and unfair to Americans, food companies have another problem: false labeling. Claims like diet, organic and lite are plastered all over the grocery store, but it is surprising to learn that one can’t always trust what they read.

The ever popular Diet Coke is an offender of false advertising. The term diet means special foods eaten in order to lose weight or increase medical health, but aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in Diet Coke, has been found to actually cause weight gain. A 10 year study conducted by The Washington Post determined that people who even just occasionally drank a Diet Coke gained three times as much belly fat as those who did not. If a product is causing the exact opposite result of what it is advertised as, the company is obviously lying. It should never be acceptable to publically lie about a product, especially when it is in regards to personal health.

Another claim that is not always backed up is when companies state a product as organic. Recently, Driscoll’s, a company that sells fruit in all major grocery chains, has been called out for falsely labeling their strawberries as organic. By claiming something as organic, the food must be grown naturally with no pesticides, hormones or genetic modifications. It has been discovered that Driscoll’s strawberries are in fact fumigated with toxic chemicals, including Methyl Bromide, which has been banned in the United States since 2005.

People rely on truth in all aspects of life. If one cannot trust what they are reading on publically distributed items such as food, how do they know what is real and what is not? Food affects many aspects of people’s lives, such as health. People try to better themselves by eating healthy, but end up being worse off due to the lies these companies are relaying. The quality of American lives are at risk. Shouldn’t that be the highest priority in anyone’s mind? Proper labeling and advertising of food should be legally enforced. Maybe then the health of society can prosper.