Do You Trust Your Food?

They know what you are cooking.

The good news is that we are FINALLY getting some package labelling to indicate GMOs are in our food.

Starting Jan. 1, labels at the grocery store are about to get a makeover on foods that have been genetically modified.

The bad news is that they are not calling them GMOs any more:

The goal was to get rid of the patchwork of different labels for foods and ingredients that have been scientifically tinkered with, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, the move also puts a greater burden on consumers to do their homework to understand what the labels mean, food advocates say.
Foods that previously were labeled as containing “genetically engineered” (GE) ingredients or “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) will now be labeled as “bioengineered,” or come with a phone number or QR code guiding consumers to more information online.

What has always gotten my Irish up has been the opaqueness on blocking us from knowing what is in our food, so at first glance this is good news. Or is it?

The move is universally confounding food safety advocate groups. Eating bioengineered foods poses no risk to human health, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration. However, watchdog organizations say the new rules contain too many loopholes for consumers who want to avoid these foods.

Given a choice between two potatoes, I’m always going to take the natural one, and I think that is probably the majority opinion of American grocery shoppers, but our Big Ag overlords who want a return on their investment. Calling a spade a spade and a GMO a Bioengeered Food seems… weasely:

“The worst part of this law is the use of the term ‘bioengineered’ because that’s not a term most consumers are familiar with,” said Gregory Jaffe, director of the project on biotechnology for the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. He said this choice was in large measure because “GMO” had come to be perceived as pejorative.

But wait! There’s more:

Other advocacy groups such as the Center for Food Safety say the rules don’t go far enough and will leave the majority of genetically modified foods unlabeled. And the new rules discriminate against the more than 100 million Americans who do not have access to smartphones or cell service, because companies will be allowed to rely on smartphone-based scannable QR codes to share information with consumers.

So once again, everyone in Possum Hollar will be left behind, thanks again to Joe Manchin who is blocking broadband from going out to the hamlets and hollers. Hooterville will have food labels but no way to know what it means. And as always, the burden is on us to be informed, not on the producers to disclose.

Most of my outrage at GMOs has been the policies around them, more than the technology itself. The so-called Frankenfoods, trans genetic technology (the apocryphal  tomato with the fish gene added) never made it to market, and the commodity crops that are resistant to Round-Up herbicide are not for human consumption (ethanol for gasoline, for instance), but as any gardener will tell you, corn pollen travels for miles on the wind. There’s really no way to know… until it is too late.

Enter the IP lawyers

The Intellectual Property aspects that forbid a farmer from saving his own seeds if they’ve crossed with a patented seed (not the fault of the farmer) is an outrage, and yes these Big Ag companies have had the balls to demand farmers destroy their own crops (and livelihoods) when this has happened.

So yeah, the policy around GMOs suck, and they make it hard to be pro-science and yet retrograde on this one technology.

Anyway, every step forward is progress. Could these disclosure laws be better, absolutely. It’s a first step and I hope that we’ll have some runway to tighten those regulations.

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13 Responses to Do You Trust Your Food?

  1. schmice3 says:

    “Soylent green is made out of people.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sos says:

    No.

    you mean GMOs like “Golden Rice”? So, say, 100s of thousands of children don’t go blind and die due to vitamin A deficiency?

    Or say, feeding everybody. The whole planet, not just wealthy 1st worlders that can afford Whole Foods. How about this deal, you get organic arugula and whatever else nonGMO you desire. But, you have to pick 100,000 poor children to starve in their mother’s arms because “GMO … BAD!”(tm).

    GMO researchers are working on grass land crops (rice, wheat, corn, the BIG stuff) to be able to fix its own nitrogen. Do you have any idea how big this is? Supplanting the Haber process for ammonia production?

    AntiGMO is analogous to AntiVAX.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Jimmy T says:

    Forbes Magazine has an article about GMO safety and provides numerous links if anyone is interested. Changing the name from GMO to bioengineered seems less threatening, since GMO has taken quite a beating over the years, but bioengineering is in for the same. Also as sos said, many of the same people who are anti-GMO are anti-vaxxers as well…

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/09/17/the-debate-about-gmo-safety-is-over-thanks-to-a-new-trillion-meal-study/?sh=181ae5538a63

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that it is the actions of the Monsanto company that are the real problem with GMOs. I have nothing against the foods themselves and would rather eat them than the legal amount of ground bugs and rodent poop allowed in cereals and other foods. I refuse, simply refuse, to look up what is in hot dogs because I want to keep enjoying them. I do wonder if many in Possum Hollar even care what foods they eat or how they were grown / procured. Hubby was watching a cooking show where the woman’s husband was running the camera and as she was talking about the meat to use, her husband mentioned when he was young his mother used to make that dish with roadkill. They were definitely from Possum Hollar in my opinion. Scottie

    Liked by 2 people

    • . Hubby was watching a cooking show where the woman’s husband was running the camera and as she was talking about the meat to use, her husband mentioned when he was young his mother used to make that dish with roadkill.

      That’s less a sign of ‘Possum Hollar’ than of grinding poverty (or a windfall of a deer collision that wrecked the front of your pickup truck. Or ‘collision’ with your pickup truck after colliding with a round from the rifle in the rack…)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. revzafod says:

    I have to confess that I’m bioengineered; most recently last year, with three Pfizer-BioNtech and two Shingrix vaccine shots.
    Maybe I should have it tattooed on, to prevent the anti-GMO and antivaxxers from eating my corpse when everything turns to shit.

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  6. The fear of GMO foods is precisely like that of the people who are claiming the vaccines ‘alter your genes’. ie Bullshit.

    The real damage is what Big Ag’s industrial farming does to the health and diversity of our food source ecosystem, which is potentially catastrophic.

    It produces extreme monocropping and wreaks havok on smaller farms. It destroys traditional, sustainable farming practices in the places we need to be able to preserve them. (hell we should even get Possum Hollar behind this: one of the drivers of immigration is competetion from industrial farming in the north and GMO driven supression of seed saving in the south. )

    We’re also breeding super-weeds, because plants swap genes, a lot. Genes for pesticde resistance in GMO crops have turned up in weeds near the fields. As TG mentions farmers have been forced to destroy their crops because of wind-blown pollen from GMO fields.

    GMO’s aren’t really the problem, it’s the companies producing them that are.

    It’s not like we haven’t been genetically modifying things since forever…this is what the original corn ear looks like: https://ogden_images.s3.amazonaws.com/www.motherearthgardener.com/images/2017/05/19152954/teosinte-jpg.jpg

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    • tengrain says:

      BDR –

      Absolutely right, and again, all of that is policy (and regulation) around agriculture.

      (I’ve ranted before about how NAFTA collapsed the agrarian economy in Mexico, but it is related to what BDR is talking about.)

      Rgds,

      TG

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  7. H-Bob says:

    The Frankenfood providers know that consumers don’t want to pay real food prices for Frankenfood. Thus, the producers want to hide the Frakenfood content so they can mislead consumers into paying higher prices. The arguments about the safety of Frankenfoods are a distraction from the pricing fraud.

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  8. Buttermilk Sky says:

    I think this is only of interest to the farmer’s market/Whole Foods crowd. Based on absolutely every other indicator, the average American wouldn’t know GMO from NGO, NFL or IPA.

    Like

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