Conservatives win most of the attention for embracing paranoia over reason, but the left’s favorite form of science denial just claimed another victory. General Mills announced today that it will stop lacing your Cheerios with genetically modified organisms.
The campaign against GMO’s may cause broader and more lasting human harm over the long run than the morons in the anti-vax movement. Gene technology is going to be critical to efforts to reduce pesticide use, improve crop yields, and make agriculture safer and cleaner in the future. GMO hysteria is the left’s answer to climate denial. Nutjobs on the left are determined to gain as much influence in politics and their crazy cousins on the right.
From the editors of Scientific American (who are obviously in league with Big Food):
At press time, GMO-label legislation is pending in at least 20 states. Such debates are about so much more than slapping ostensibly simple labels on our food to satisfy a segment of American consumers. Ultimately, we are deciding whether we will continue to develop an immensely beneficial technology or shun it based on unfounded fears.
You may one day be free from “Frankenfood” at the cost of a dirtier, hungrier world.
To the Editor:
Re “On Hawaii, a Lonely Quest for Fact” (front page, Jan. 5):
Your article about genetically modified crops says that there is a “global scientific consensus” that they are safe, and suggests that opponents are driven by emotion, not fact.
As a medical research scientist, I disagree that there is any such consensus, and there is no evidence that any genetically modified product is safe. There is no required safety testing, no epidemiological study relating consumption to health.
Although the industry aggressively tries to discredit all studies showing potential harm, there are many showing toxicity in animals that predict serious medical consequences in humans from long-term exposure. Finally, contrary to industry claims, genetically modified crops have produced no increase in yield, have elevated the use of herbicides tenfold, and have resulted in no social or economic benefit except for the reduction of factory farm labor costs.
The public has every right to distrust what it is told about genetically modified food safety.
La Jolla, Calif., Jan. 6, 2014
The writer is a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
It always comes across as a surprise to most people that most everything we eat has already been genetically modified, usually quite extensively. That this was done by our ancestors through selective breeding does not alter the fact that most of our foodstuffs are essentially unrecognizable when compared to the “natural” plant they originated from. We can do this faster now, and the potential risks to biodiversity are balanced against higher yields from less land, less pesticide use, less erosion from tilling, and nutritional improvements.
There is a group of noisy people out there who seem to believe that we can feed the world using traditional farming methods. We can’t. It’s simply impossible.
A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops
Chris, your post reminds me of a report earlier this year that said that organic food is no more nutritious than other foods.
For many people who prefer to eat organic foods, it’s not only the actual food that is preferred, it is also the process that produces it [fewer pesticides].
Regarding GMO foods, the same may be true. To some, GMO crops are just another unsettling aspect of industrial food production that seems out of whack sometimes.
I think labeling is a step forward. If a food is GMO, let consumers know with a label.
The fact that many food producers don’t want to do that is an unsettling aspect of the GMO process, another reason to oppose it.
[The NYT link above is a story about a small town council member trying to make the right decision regarding bannng/not banning GMO crops in his agricultural community.]
I’ve been eating Cheerios for more years than I can count, so if there’s something harmful there it has probably given me something by now. The fact that this ban applies only to the original and not the Honey Nut variety leads me to believe it’s more a publicity stunt than anything else.
When it comes to food I have a simple philosophy, eat what you like and leave other folks alone. At one time or another just about everything we consume has been labeled cancer causing and detrimental to your health, only to later be reversed by one group or another. Alcohol, coffee, eggs, oat bran, butter, etc. come to mind.
Everybody’s going to check out of here with something. I’m going to eat what I enjoy along the way and take my chances.
While open to the idea of GMO’s I am a bit suspicious of them because of the potential effects in the long run on the environment as a whole. I believe some GMO crops are pest resistant, which sounds great, but also starving certain insects which in turn are eaten by other insects which are eaten by others and on and on. There is a food chain which is already out of balance. Other than that I have none but I think long term studies are needed. If there are any out there please post links.
I dunno if you can drop this at the feet of liberals, even loony liberals Chris. Isn’t this more in the domain of the “don’t poison me with vaccines, medicines, or anything else unnatural that can help me” and “let me forage off the land” loonies?