Why Genetically Engineered Foods Should be Labeled – Gary Hirshberg


Gary Hirshberg discusses the case for mandatory federal labeling of genetically engineered foods. He argues that the federal government’s failure to establish transparency about these foods is a breach in their responsibility to we, the people. Moreover, he believes that we all have a part in inciting the government to label genetically engineered foods. See Gary’s full bio here.

Publications & Reports

Reports & Studies



A comprehensive guide that provides an excellent background to the discussion of genetically engineered (GE) foods. It covers what the terminology “genetically engineered” entails; which crops are genetically engineered; and explores the safety risks of consuming GE foods.





An online compilation of reports and studies from various sources, offering a wealth of information to consumers about genetically modified foods and related topics.

Documents from the Consumers Union on research and advocacy efforts for genetically modified foods and the labeling issue.

  • GMO Foods, Environmental Working Group, web resource page.

A collection of articles, blog posts and research to provide consumers with information on genetically modified foods issues and advocacy.



Discussion Questions

  • Pre-discussion: Take a look around your kitchen. Consider the items you purchase regularly, which populate your fridge and pantry. Search for any items that contain labeling about GE (genetically engineered) or no GE ingredients. Corn and soybeans are the most common GE crops, and many products in the U.S. that contain these as ingredients are GE. How often do you see these ingredients on labels in your pantry and fridge? How does this impact your feelings towards GE foods and labeling?
  • Why does the government mandate and regulate nutrition information on our food? How important is nutrition labeling to you as a consumer? How does that relate to the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in our food supply?
  • As discussed in Gary’s talk, 64 other countries around the world require labeling of genetically modified foods, including 28 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China. Why does the U.S. stand apart on this issue? What are potential strategies to make the U.S. join those 64 other nations in mandating GM food labeling?
  • Discuss potential alternatives to relying on genetically modified foods to feed the world’s population.

Take Action

  1. Learn more about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and take action for labelling at http://www.labelgmos.org/.
  2. Want to use your purchasing power to make a powerful statement for labeling GE foods? Use Whole Food’s “How to Shop If You’re Avoiding GMOs” to only buy non-GMO.
  3. Express your concerns with your local restaurants and markets. Tell owners your concerns about eating GE foods, and ask them to sell foods/products that are non-GMO certified.
  4. Stay up to date on the political fight for State Labeling Initiatives and take action on current initiatives and petitions.
  5. Comment. It takes only 30 seconds to tell the FDA that you have the right to know what’s in your food.
  6. Eat fresh. While some produce is genetically modified, most GMOs will be found in processed foods containing soy and corn. Eat more fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods. Your body will thank you and you will avoid genetically modified foods.
  7. Go to Change Food’s Tumblr site to share and give us feedback on your experiences.


Center for Food Safety

The Center for Food Safety is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization seeking to protect human health and the environment by preventing the use of harmful food production technologies and by encouraging the use of organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.

Consumers Union

The policy and action division of Consumer Reports, Consumers Union works with activists to create consumer-friendly policies. See how you can take action.

Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.  We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.  We work for you.  Do you know what’s in your tap water? What about your shampoo? What’s lurking in the cleaners underneath your sink? What pesticides are on your food? How about the farms, fracking wells and factories in your local area? Do you know what safeguards they use to protect your water, soil, air and your kids? Which large agribusinesses get your tax dollars and why?  What are GMOs? What do they do to our land and water?  More than two decades ago EWG set out to answer these questions, and more, and to empower you to get to know your environment and protect your health. Take action

Food Democracy Now!

A grassroots community seeking to build a sustainable food system that protects the environment, supports farmers and provides families with healthy food.

GMO Inside

GMO Inside is a campaign dedicated to revealing which foods are genetically modified, and to giving consumers the necessary tools and information to make informed choices about genetically engineered foods.

Just Label It

Just Label It is a project of Organic Voices, which raises awareness about labeling GMO foods and advocates for the consumer’s right to know what is in their food. Gary Hirshberg is on the Board of Directors.

Kids Right to Know

Kids Right to Know, founded by teen activist Rachel Parent, seeks to inform, educate and motivate kids to take action for a better food system. In particular, this organization spreads the message that we all have the right to know what is in our food, no matter your age.

Organic Consumers Association


Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization that campaigns generally for health, justice, and sustainability, tackling issues such as food safety, industrial agriculture and genetic engineering.