question on labelling genetically modified foods

From: Michael Wiik (
Date: Thu Jan 06 2000 - 01:02:23 MST

I admit I am not current on the relative safety of genetically modified
foods or WTO policies. I just read the 'Frightened Villagers at the
Gate: "Frankenfoods" as a Front' feature on the Transhumanist Times, and
don't quite understand the opposition to mandatory labelling of GM
foods, especially as I understand the WTO policies act to limit

Now, I really don't like mandatory labelling, but if my understanding of
the WTO policies is correct, it will prohibit labelling of foods beyond
nutritional content, denying consumers the choice of whether to avoid GM
foods. Other labels, applying to, for example, shoes, would be
prohibited from containing information about exactly how and where the
items were manufactured. This seems to me to limit consumer's ability to
affect the marketplace, all in the name of 'free trade'.

I wouldn't mind at all if labelling were up to individual manufacturers,
then consumers could decide if they wanted to pay extra for the
dolphin-safe tuna or the shoes manfactured in countries with stronger
worker's rights. I suspect that, given time, not listing such conditions
would create suspicion and distrust of those manufacturers without
complete labelling policies.

So I can support mandatory labelling of GM foods -- even if they're
totally safe -- even if I am generally opposed to mandatory anything --
just as a balance against organizations working to prohibit labelling.

Given the situation, why is this un-extropian?


Michael Wiik
Messagenet Communications Research
Washington DC Area Internet and WWW Consultants

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