Commentary: Barking up the wrong tree
Along with death, taxes and endless political gridlock, another of life’s certainties seems to be a never-ending activist push for labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients.
Every week, another group, another campaign emerges, each of them designed to convince Americans that the food products they’ve been happily consuming for the past decade or so are deceptive, dangerous and deadly.
For example, the Environmental Working Group, which used to focus on big-picture issues like resource conservation and pollution, is now whining regularly about the “horrors” of GMOs. Their latest online pitch (for contributions, naturally), states that, “Our research team has worked exhaustively to create an informative guide to [GMOs]. If you want to know why GMO food labeling matters, look no further than field corn (sic) and soybeans — some 90 percent of U.S.-grown corn is genetically engineered and about 93 percent of soybeans.”
Of course, that statement begs the question: If GMOs are so dangerous — and 90+ percent of the foods made from corn and soy come from genetically engineered crops — then why haven’t most of us dropped dead yet?
Instead, EWG’s appeal goes in another, very predictable direction: “Donate $10 or more before midnight Friday, and we’ll send you our Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GE Food. We can only continue our important research with your support.”
“Important research” usually translates to “continuous fund-raising.”
Likewise, efforts to put statewide ballot measures mandating GMO labeling in front of voters in selected states continues in full force, despite recent defeats in California and Washington. Sooner or later one of those referenda is going to pass and then the floodgates will open.
Deep thoughts — and dead wrong
So, being the deep thinker that I am, I started to wonder: Would it possible to “road test” voluntary GMO food labeling without the potential backlash most food industry observers predict would occur if one or more manufacturers began using statements such as “Enhanced with bio-engineered nutrients” on their packaging? Maybe that’s possible, I was thinking, if the category was one that didn’t directly impact human health.
Such as pet foods, which are made with numerous ingredients derived from corn and soy.
Boy, was I wrong — about as wrong as the gamblers who bets millions (hello, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.) on the Denver Broncos to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
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