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GMO attracts negativity in absence of substance

As I was getting to the end of my overnight email accumulation this morning my wife called me from the den, where she was watching the late edition of The Today Show—part of her morning ritual.

“Do you want to watch a segment on GMOs?” she asked.

“Yes,” I responded as I made my way to the kitchen to freshen up my fourth cup of coffee. Does coffee contain GMOs? Don’t know. Also, don’t care.

She quickly put the television in reverse, backed up to where the segment began and we watched as the Today hosts—Willie Geist and Natalie Morales, I think (Today is not part of my morning ritual.) discussed with nutrition expert Madelyn Fernstrom how savvy consumers can avoid buying products containing GMO material.

Basically, skeptical consumers, those who fear that eating or wearing GMO products will somehow alter their DNA, turn them green, make them glow in the dark or cause some vile illness to befall them and their future generations, should look for labels declaring: “GMO free,” “Non-GMO,” “Certified non-GMO,” and several other precautions enquiring minds should look for.

The “expert” mentioned, several times, that no one is required to list GMO products on food labels but that some companies are doing so voluntarily, and some are offering alternatives—General Mills, for instance.

I’ve read and watched and heard television personalities—Dr. Oz comes to mind—rail about how to avoid GMO products. It comes as an add-on for many TV cooking experts touting organic foods as the healthy choice for better living.

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What I don’t hear and what was glaringly absent from this morning’s GMO segment is any mention of what damage GMO has been proven to do to folks who eat—or wear—genetically modified plants.  I don’t hear that from folks who promote all-organic, either, by the way.

And there is good reason why they don’t mention the research data that support their contention that GMO is a health risk. That research does not exist. Folks have been eating and wearing GMO products for many years now and not one shred of evidence exists that anyone has suffered any ill effects from them.

Evidence does show, however, that productivity has increased, allowing farmers to feed and clothe more people, using less land, less water and less labor.

So, why do folks continue to deny the value of GMO to society? Negative sells better than positive. Scaring people attracts more attention than assuring them that their food supply is the safest it’s ever been.

An old newspaper adage seems to apply: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Maybe the modern version is: “If it scares, it airs.” And let the facts be damned.


Also of interest:

Misinformation abounds regarding GMOs

The man that saved a billion lives: Norman Borlaug and GMOs

Organic food inspections lacking, former inspector says

TAGS: Management
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