Genetically Engineered Animals and the Ethics of Food Labeling
LABELING GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD: THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND LEGAL DEBATE, pp. 63-87, Paul Weirich, ed., Oxford University Press, 2007
43 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2010 Last revised: 11 Mar 2014
Date Written: October 1, 2007
The current debate about labeling genetically engineered (GE) food focuses on food derived from GE crops, neglecting food derived from GE animals. This is not surprising, as GE animal products have not yet reached the market. Participants in the debate may also be assuming that conclusions about GE crops automatically extend to GE animals. But there are two GE animals - the Enviropig and the AquAdvantage Bred salmon - that are approaching the market, animals raise more ethical issues than plants, and U.S. regulations treat animal products differently from crops. This paper therefore examines the specific question of whether there should be mandatory labeling on all food products derived from GE animals. We examine the likely regulatory pathways, salient differences between GE animals and GE crops, and relevant social science research on consumers’ attitudes. We argue that on any of the likely pathways, the relevant agency has a democratic obligation to require labeling for all GE animal food products.
Keywords: GMO, genetically engineered foods, enviropigs, AquAdvantage Salmon, genetically engineered animals, food labeling, consumer autonomy
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