Post from the Past: Celebrate Non-GMO Month!

In addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Non-GMO Month. GMOs are genetically modified foods. You may have heard a lot about them in the news lately, especially with regard to the “Frankensalmon.” I remember when the issue of GMO first came up around the turn of the millennium. I thought, No big deal. It’s just science.

And that’s exactly what Psychology Today wants us to think. According to writer David Ropeik, fear of GMOs is nothing more than a psychological perception of risk. We fear what we can’t control. And because the government won’t tell us the details of genetic modification (for the financial safety of the companies making money off of it), we fear GMO corn, soy, and now salmon. By this argument, genetic modification is just a “secret recipe” like the combination of ingredients for Heinz or Coke.

By contrast, there are arguments made based on a history of irresponsible governmental decisions when it comes to food. After all, high fructose corn syrup is made from corn and is therefore “natural,” yet it still wreaks havoc on the body. As for trans fats, they are made from vegetables, and what could be better for you? However, now even the infamously mainstream Mayo Clinic is now calling “double trouble for your heart health.” (The USDA’s replacement for the Food Pyramid, now called MyPlate, still recommends vegetable oils, which are not much better than trans fats; in one study of several thousand men, men asked to reduce saturated fat by consuming vegetable oils had 100% more deaths than those who ate “bad” diets containing saturated fat and cholesterol).

So we have a reason to be suspicious of the government’s blanket approval of a new way to mess with our food. Other concerns are animal and environmental health, moral and ethical concerns, and the fact that nobody wants to label GMOs, just like they want to rename high-fructose corn syrup.

What do you think about GMO? A blessing or a curse? Is technology like this safe when it comes to food? Should we trust multinational food corporations and the ever-compliant FDA?


originally posted 10/12/10 on

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