Friday, January 23, 2009

US Dietary Supplements Need Labels Indicating GMO Status

I was in a vitamin shop yesterday:

Me: Hi. Do you have any organic vitamin E?
Clerk: *Check ... rummage ... check* No, I'm sorry. Nothing organic.
Me: I see. Well then, do you have anything that isn't genetically engineered?
Clerk: *Looking at me but not saying anything*
Me: It might say Non-GMO on the label.
Clerk: *Check ... rummage ... check*
Me: I was interested in an organic one because I see they're all made with soybean oil, and most of the soybean oil here in the US is genetically engineered.
Clerk: Ohhhh, yes ... Now I know what you mean. Actually, all these brands come from just one or two manufacturers so they're basically all the same. I had a customer a few days ago from England and she wouldn't buy anything. She said that everything in the US seems to be, what word did she use ... Frankenfood?"
Me: Yes, I've heard that. Oh well, thanks for checking.

So I looked it up ...

In the 27 countries of the European Union, "Vitamin E or tocopherol from genetically modified plants (soy, maize, cotton) has to be declared."

Not so in the United States.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant. It's sold here as a dietary supplement. It's also added to foods (oils, margarine, dressings, packaged foods) and fatty supplements (fish oil, vitamin D) to prevent their fats from going rancid (becoming oxidized).

Genetically engineered corn and soy have been shown to lower fertility, interfere with metabolism, initiate or exacerbate allergies, and other effects I've written about. Why do the European Union and other developed countries require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and supplements, but the US does not?

We need labels.

1 comment:

Angela and Melinda said...

Apropos of nothing except some of your previous posts on vitamin supplements, I came across this interesting article in the Wash. Post about whether it's possible to get all your nutritional needs met by food. Apparently it's a pretty difficult (but not impossible) task.