According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson said that foods containing genetically modified ingredients (or GMOs for genetically modified organisms) should be labeled so that people have the right to choose, and know exactly what they’re eating.
The Ghanian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, the current president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made the remarks at the recent World Food Prize symposium in downtown Des Moines, where executives from GMO giants Monsanto and Sygenta were given the prizes in a heavily-biased awards program funded in large part by Monsanto itself, one that drew heavy protests outside.
He called for better transparency, saying that GMO companies should “adopt the highest standards of communication with the public” to “guarantee producers’ and consumers’ rights to information” according to the Des Moines Register article.
Labeling Remarks Overshadowed by Pro-Biotech Thoughts
Despite the encouraging call for labeling by Turkson, he also added that the Catholic Church supports biotechnology and GMOs to “help feed the poor and afflicted” of the world.
This “benefit” of GMOs has of course been refuted by large-scale UN studies, however, which have called for a return to smaller-scale, family and community-owned farms.
According to previous comments, the Catholic Church seems to lean toward giving GMOs a chance, although there appears to be some conflict among the church as to whether or not to endorse them.
The U.S. has also reportedly been seeking an endorsement from the church of GMOs to continue its mission to spread the highly profitable, and highly controversial, crops across the third world.
Ultimately, Turkson preached caution, although he did earlier say that he believes the crops hold promise.
“Let us take every reasonable measure of caution beforehand to avoid the risk of human health or the environment,” he said.