St. Petersburg, Florida -- In Florida there's a renewed push to label our food that contains genetically modified organisms or GMO's. Some say consumers have the right to know while others say so much of our food is already genetically engineered under our government's watch that it's no big deal.
Florida House Bill 1deals withgenetically engineered foods and would make it mandatory thatgenetically engineered raw agricultural commodities and processed foods made with or derived from genetically engineered ingredients be labeled.
The billwas authored byState Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda.The bill is incommittee and is beingdiscussed this legislative session.
Irene Olive Cates of St. Petersburg thinks it's a move in the right direction. She purchases organic foods and only eats fish.
"I'm trying to bring it back to the basics - the who, what, where and how our foods are made. So I'm all for small gardens, small community gardens and knowing exactly where your food is coming from," she says.
She believes Florida and the entire nation should push for the labels and points to the fact that more than 60 countries already haveGMO labeling laws.
Dr. Jill Roberts is a USF Health food safety expert who's been teaching food safety to college students for a decade now.
"GMO's have been in the food chain for a decade now -- in particular GMO corn was introduced over 10 years ago -- 93% of corn that's on the U.S. market is GMO."
Dr. Roberts says there's nothing to worry about at this point.
"Studies would say no. Every safety study that's been done -- all the GMO'Sthat are on the market have shown that they are safe," she adds.
At City Produce in St. Petersburg at 2701 4th Street the workers pride themselves on making fresh fruits and vegetables available for their customers seven days a week. They say all their items are locally grown.
Roberts sayscorn,soy, papayaand one type of tomato are the onlyitems you'll find at produce stands and grocery stores that are genetically modified.Papaya she says was almost wiped out due to a virus and the only reason it still grows is because its been genetically modified.
She says most itemsdon't have GMO's. But it getscomplicated when you start looking at all the processed items weeat that havecorn and soy in them. One ingredient that's in a lot of foods we eat is high fructose corn syrup.
Meanwhile, Roberts says she doesn't think labeling everything with corn in it would be practical.
Dr. Roberts says if you want to make absolutely sure you don't have any GMO in your food you should buy organic. She says the guidelines for organic items are so strict that even if you purchase meat that's organic the animals would have had to have eatena diet free of GMO's.
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