Big, Bad GMOs?

The big controversy over GMOs is a fascinating distraction from more pressing food issues.  And I’m not talking about the momentous decision last night at Locanda Verde to order the Sunday night ragu over the lamb Bolognese though I’m glad I did.

Look, under proposition 37 in California corporations wold be required to state if the products they are selling are genetically modified (GMO).

Folks, the thing is?  Nearly everything we eat that has any form of processing is GMO.

In the USA:

Soy: 93% GMO.

Corn: 86% GMO.

Canola: 93% GMO.

When you factor in the products that have soy, corn, and canola in them?  Not much is left.

So who cares?

Look: “It would be a setback to the ecologically based farming movement if Californians approved this labeling initiative,” says Pamela Ronald, a University of California-Davis plant geneticist who is a leader in the emerging “green genes” movement – environmentalists who see genetics as a key tool to dramatically enhance sustainable agriculture.

Look: “There have been more than 300 independent medical studies on the safety of genetically modified foods. The World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences and most recently the American Medical Association House of Delegates have evaluated the evidence. They have all concluded that there is no evidence that the genetic modification process presents any unique safety issues and recognized the potential benefits of the technology.”

The distraction here is from the economics of farming in developing nations where limited education makes the agricultural sector extremely vulnerable to the profit driven business plans of state economies or private capital.

So, go ahead: Shudder when you fry your GMO tempeh or eat your GMO popcorn at the movies or weep as you put your GMO ketchup on your burger.

The real issue is the intersection lies elsewhere.



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