Do you know what the labels swarming all over food products today mean? Terms like "organic," "natural," "gluten free," "non-GMO" and "hormone free" are smacked on product after product. It's hard to cut through all the terms and know what they all mean. It's understandable that the consumer doesn't know what is in every product they eat when a new term is thrown out every day with just a slightly different production method than the last one. Let's get one thing clear: it's not because farmers are trying to hide their methods. It's because marketers are trying to get you to think their new product is healthier than anything else on the shelf.
America is becoming crazily health conscious. With national obesity on the rise, consumers are trying to stay trim and still enjoy all the foods they want to. It's the job of marketers to get you to believe their product fits that bill. The problem is, terms like "organic" don't mean healthier. It means they were raised with a method that didn't use pesticides or herbicides, but was still genetically modified, just without using GMOs. While some will debate this is healthier for the environment, all scientists can agree it is no more nutritious.
Cost of production goes up significantly for products with these labels. Depending on which one, different production methods aren't allowed. For example, organic foods can't use GMOs, which make more yields per acre. When supply goes down, prices go up. That's basic economics. "Antibiotic free" foods use different remedies as opposed to antibiotics that are more expensive and less effective. Once again, supply goes down and price goes up. These labels make the consumer more trusting in the product, though, so we continue to produce them.
Now let's be real. The agriculture industry is not perfect. Antibiotic resistance is real. Weed resistance is real. However, there are better methods to combat rather than cutting them out completely. These rising costs come from simple labeling techniques. There's already 795 million starving people in this world because they can't afford food. What happens when fear of the unknown makes food prices steadily climb? The rich will stay full, and the poor will go hungry. Someone on a welfare check can't afford to pay $8 for organic pepper at Whole Foods (Yes, I've seen it).
Europe's fear of GMOs and modern farming practices has already halted golden rice production, causing thousands in to die of Vitamin A Deficiency. There is no reason for nutrition deficiency to cause thousands to starve anymore. We have the technology in America to feed the world. Do your research on labels and what is in your food, so when it comes time to vote on things like GMO labeling laws, we can make a difference in our nation and the world by bringing down food prices.