Are Those GMO Mushrooms onYour Plate? You May Never Know
All of us who like mushrooms let out a big gasp last week after learning that a GMO mushroom could wind up on our dinner tables without any notice or label.
That’s right – a researcher at Penn State University has developed a new GMO mushroom, using a new gene-editing technique. Surprisingly, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the GMO mushroom can be grown without needing prior approval from the department. The minimal federal regulations that govern the cultivation and sales of GMO crops and foods have not kept up with changes in the technology.
The future cultivation of GMO mushrooms could be a big issue for mushroom farmers in Chester County, Penn., who produce 47 percent of the mushrooms sold in the U.S. Farmers who sell their mushrooms into markets that do not accept GMOs, like organic markets, could suffer financial losses if their crops were somehow contaminated with a GMO variety.
To make matters worse, if Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and his fellow opponents of GMO labeling in the Senate are successful, Americans may never know if the mushrooms they are buying in the supermarket are GMO.
Sen. Roberts has recently renewed his push to pass legislation that has been dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act, or DARK Act. The legislation would prohibit states and the federal government from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods.
Whether you’re ready to try this new GMO mushroom or not, I think we can all agree that you should have a choice.