Letter: How food labeling helps solve health mysteries
November 2, 2014
You may remember a time when nutritional labels were not required on foods. It took laws to get food ingredient labels and hold producers accountable for honest labeling. In 1965, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act required honest and informational labeling of food products. In 1990 the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act was passed. This required the standardized labels our food currently bears which show us the calorie information and ingredients (listed in order from highest to lowest amount used to make the product).
One of the arguments against labeling of genetically modified organisms containing foods is that it will burden manufactures, and increase the costs of food. I do not recall a surge in food prices in 1994 when the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act went into effect. These very labels have been invaluable to myself and others in making informed choices about what we eat. They have allowed us to compare the sugar content of foods, avoid trans fats and avoid food allergens. I help my patients on a daily basis to identify the food sensitivities negatively impacting their health. For a patient with debilitating migraines, there may be just one food additive, which triggers their headaches. Because of food labels, I have been able to help them identify and eliminate those food additives and therefore their migraines. Without an accurate label this would be impossible.
Adding GMO information to food labels would give us one more piece of information to solve food related health puzzles. There is already evidence that some people have allergic reactions to GMO foods. Without labeling, it is difficult for people with a food sensitivity to figure it out and avoid the ingredient impacting their health. Sixty-four countries in the world currently require labeling of foods with GMO ingredients. GMO labels have informed their citizens about what is in their food without increasing food costs or hurting farmers.
So if you are concerned about health and about helping people find the causes of their stomach aches, joint pain, allergies, hyperactivity, mood disorders, skin problems, fatigue and many other health problems associated with food sensitivities, I strongly encourage you to vote "yes" on Proposition 105. Doing so will help us get the information needed to make informed decisions about our health to take care of our families and ourselves.
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