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Unclear Fears: GMO Labels May Cause Unsubstantiated Hysteria

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Unclear Fears: GMO Labels May Cause Unsubstantiated Hysteria

Consumers like to know how their food is made, but a previous member of the Food & Drug Administration adds that too much disclosure creates irrational fears.

Forbes contributor Michelle Maisto recently argued that the federal government should make a compulsory label system for genetically improved foods. However, Henry Miller — the former founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology — was quick to point out that such disclosure on foods using up-to-date and harmless gene-slicing techniques would only put groundless fears in the head's of consumers.

"Product labeling that conveys essential information is important, but mandatory labeling of gene-spliced foods is a bad idea. First, it implies risks for which there is no evidence. Second, it flies in the face of worldwide scientific consensus about the appropriate basis of regulation," Miller told Forbes.

Modern consumers largely prefer "organic" or "all-natural" foods, and the compulsory labeling initiative proposed by Maisto could have a lasting impact on sales for companies who produce these goods.