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Lawmakers Consider Labeling Genetically Modified Food

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — What do you know about the foods you eat? So many food products include genetically modified ingredients that some groups are calling for labeling.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains what lawmakers are being asked to do about it.

These genetically modified or genetically engineered food products are basic components in everyday foods.

More and more shoppers are relying on food labels to guide them through the grocery aisles.

“I was just looking at this so yes, I do pay more attention than I have been,” said shopper Avis Kersay.

Kersay and countless others are now learning more about GMOs, plant foods genetically altered for greater yields. That includes most of the corn, soy and vegetable oils produced in the United States. For example, plain Cheerios have no GMOs but other Cheerio flavors do. But you won’t see that anywhere on the boxes.

“People do have a right to know what it is that is in their food,” said Sen. Karen Montgomery.

Montgomery is sponsoring a bill that requires products that contain GMOs to say so.

“What is their problem? If they’re not ashamed or embarrassed by it, then they ought to be labeling them and not creating a fuss because they really are speaking against their own products,” Montgomery said.

Consumers can seek out products that are labeled non-GMO if they are concerned. But the opposition to labeling argues that labeling GMO products gives a false impression that there’s something wrong with them.

“It suggests a safety issue where none exists and it would mislead consumers and raise food prices,” said L. Val Giddings.

Still, some consumers would like to make up their own minds.

“Absolutely. Definitely, I would want to know that. I’ve been looking into that and I think it’s deceiving the public,” said shopper Laurie McMillan.

If the bill passes, Maryland would be the first state to require GMO labeling.

Because of the amount of soy and corn in processed foods including high fructose corn syrup, an estimated 30,000 GMO products are on the market.

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