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Is it possible to enjoy our food without being bombarded by fear and misleading messages?

tfitchette, Associate Editor

May 2, 2017

2 Min Read

Perhaps you’ve noticed it too: food labels that seem to have much more to do with bragging and mixed-misleading messages than simple truths.

Take orange juice for instance. Tropicana has been labeling its pure premium orange juice for some time as “non-GMO.” The implication in such a label would suggest to consumers that Tropicana is proud to provide consumers an alternative not offered by their competition.

Except there currently is no such thing as a genetically modified orange: at least not commercially. Not yet.

Commercial citrus growers in Florida may wish that were a different case as Huanglongbing ravages that state’s citrus industry and threatens the viability of citrus elsewhere in the U.S.

As researchers study and attempt genetically modified citrus that can withstand or at least tolerate the deadly bacteria that causes citrus greening disease, for now GM oranges are only a dream that one might think juice companies would love to have if it means having quality fruit to juice and sell.

Then there’s the gluten-free labeling on everything from cheese to bacon – items that never have had gluten in them.

I get it: sort of. Crafty labeling somehow has the ability to convince people to select specific products, but at what cost? Is this rush to label everything a good thing or is it filling people’s heads with fear and false implications like the GMO-free labeling on a bottle of orange juice?

Peruse the poultry section in your local store and the labeling is all about “no added hormones” and “all natural.” Even with the required disclaimers that say “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones or steroids in poultry,” people apparently fall for it. Could it be a ploy to raise food prices?

You see the same thing in the drive through lines at the fast food joint – the “all natural” burger that on television is advertised by attractive models who ironically may have had cosmetic surgery.

For instance, when I see a burger advertised as “all natural” the sarcastic side of me wants to order the “unnatural” burger instead to see if I can get that in a combo meal with fries made with GMO potatoes for half the price.

Why can’t we just enjoy our food without being bombarded by fear and misleading messages?

About the Author(s)


Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

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