The New York Times Stood Against GMO Labeling — Until GMO Salmon Entered the Picture

This past Tuesday, the New York Times editorial board officially started favoring labels for genetically modified food.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a complete reversal of their position in 2013. Previously the editorial board wrote that there was no need to label GMOs because “Consumers can already find products free of genetically engineered ingredients, with labels voluntarily placed by the manufacturers.” According to, their change in position was spurred by the approval of the AquaBounty salmon.

Aqua Bounty's AquAdvantage Salmon

Chinook Salmon + Ocean Pout + Atlantic Salmon = AquAdvantage Salmon

Now the Times says that Congress should require the new salmon to bear a GMO label because “consumers deserve to know what they are eating.”

The editorial board didn’t bother to address its own previous argument for voluntary labels. That makes it look like it has a double standard: Voluntary labels are fine for plants, but GMO animals are just too scary.

Interesting change of opinion indeed, and it begs the question, why? Genetic modification in plants carries with it many of the same unknowns and potential risks as GMO salmon.  But perhaps this position change will give the pro-GMO labeling camp another push toward implementing mandatory labeling.

Speaking of labeling, Nathanael Johnson over at Grist suggests that the use of barcodes might just be a solution for the whole labeling conundrum. For more on that, you can read the post in its entirety here:

And we’ll be discussing the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) QR code labeling concept very soon as well…

Author: renezimbelman

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