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Editor’s Notebook

AUG. 21– Good Morning America featured a short segment on genetically modified food today and insinuated that some potentially dangerous elements might be lurking in our chocolate chip cookies, corn chips and cooking oils.

Diane Sawyer, GMA co-host, included several anti-GMO groups in the program who claimed that no one knows whether genetically modified foods are safe or not and that Americans have been consuming them, unknowingly, for the past decade.

(As far as I know, no reports of green humans glowing in the dark have occurred over the past 10 years.)

GMA also included spokesmen from the food industry who testified that the products were safe. That, apparently, was intended to provide balance. Unfortunately, they dropped in comments about genetically modified rice not intended for human consumption that recently and unintentionally got into the food chain. They did not mention that the rice posed no threat to humans.

The segment also ended with a comparison of products, some of which contained (or likely contained) genetically modified corn, soybeans or canola. That parting shot left the impression that GMO products were not safe and that consumers should seek alternatives: shredded wheat instead of corn flakes, for instance.

The big push was to include GMO labeling on products.

The segment did mention that genetic modifications improve production efficiency. It did not point out the nutrition enhancements made possible by the technology nor did it focus on the positive environmental benefits genetic modifications have made.

No one brought up the reduction in pesticide applications made possible by genetic technology. No one noted the potential for eliminating famine. And no one brought up the possibility for ending hunger because of this technology.

Maybe we need to label GMO products, except that would offer the often-misguided opponents definitive targets at which to aim their scare tactics, which require no scientific facts.

e-mail: rsmith@farmpress.com

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