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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Labeling

2016 August 10

When Vermont, affectionately known by its residents as The Green Mountain state, passed Act 120 in 2014, it triggered national debates about federal standards and transparency. Act 120, which passed with a vote of 114-30 in the House and 28-2 in the Senate, requires that all foods created either entirely or partially by genetic engineering contain a label that states “produced with genetic engineering”.

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is the result of artificially inserting a gene from one species into the genome of another species. The inserted gene can come from bacteria, viruses, plants, or even humans. GMOs increase agricultural yield, produce their own toxins against certain insects, and are resistant to bacteria. The manipulation of genes can also result in food that is more nutritious than non-GMO food.

Proponents of GMOs say that this biotechnology might hold the key to solving world hunger in the face of rapidly increasing world populations. Aside from increased agricultural production that have the capability of producing food with a higher nutrition content, the future of GMOs may include foods with vaccine producing proteins which can immunize individuals against a wide range of preventable diseases such as Hepatitis B.

Those who oppose the continued use of GMO’s as a food source argue that the long term effects of GMOs on human health is largely unknown and unstudied. They also note that Monsanto, the world’s largest producer and owner of GMO foods is also the seller of Roundup: Monsanto,  an environmentally destructive weed killer that can ...

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