CSPI is dead on about GM labeling. Good for them!

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Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.28.00 PMWe have perennially been on opposite sides of the table from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on virtually every issue, for example, artificial sweeteners, trace chemicals, caramel coloring, Proposition 65, you name it.

But now we find ourselves in complete agreement: There is no reason for mandatory labels on GMO foods or products derived from them. Amen.

CSPI has held this position for some time. In 2013, Gregory Jaffe, their director of biotechnology, who was interviewed by a reporter from FoodNavigator-USA said, We don t feel it should be mandated on labels that foods are produced with GM crops.

His reasoning is identical to ours that the label will be misleading: You could argue for example that non-GMO label claims are misleading since they falsely imply that food made without GE ingredients is safer or superior in some other way.

You bet, says ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom. Perhaps the most misleading aspect of such a label is the suggestion that products that are produced by GM crops are in any way different from those from non-GM sources. Most sugar is now produced from GM sugar beets, However, the sugar obtained in this way is identical in every way to sugar that is derived from any other source.

He adds, This is perhaps the most common misconception about GM technology, and is exploited cleverly by marketers such as Whole Foods, which is only too happy to profit from the ignorance of their shoppers.

Taking an anti-labeling stance puts CSPI at odds with other groups that usually march in lockstep on environmental and technological issues, and for this we give them credit. It is not easy to go against the crowd

, and they are already taking some heat for doing just this.

For example, Gary Ruskin, the director of a group called US Right to Know, wondered, Why is CSPI defending a technology that has health and environmental risks but nearly no consumer benefits? CSPI has done a lot of good work over the years. But on the issue of GMOs, they have lost their way.

Really? Or could it be that Ruskin, who earned a degree in religion from Carleton College, and a graduate degree in public policy from Harvard University s Kennedy School of Government, never found his way in the first place? We take note of both the absence of any degree in any science, and the irony of the degree in religion.

I guess another Amen is called for here.