Today we learned that yet another 2 brands have caved to consumer pressure.
Due to a new GMO labeling law coming to fruition in Vermont soon, Dannon and Hershey have become the latest food conglomerates to dump GMOs in favor of more natural ingredients. Or as is worded in a part of the article that made me laugh (since it was talking about chocolate), more healthy ingredients.
Its a business decision.
Its to much of a hassle to manufacture a tiny little batch of chocolate or yogurt for Vermont distribution (and same for any future states that hop on board the labeling trend). So best just streamline the whole process now, and be better placed for future legal changes involving products and labels.
Such a decision is a gift that keeps on giving, because its great for marketing. I’ve been sensing that Non-GMO is fast becoming the new gluten free. So may as well hop on board early in the game.
Genetic modification is a gigantic topic, one with branches into some scary areas. But it also has brought about much more efficacy in some areas than can be said for traditional organic farming practices.
If utilized properly by the right minds (people over profit, being rule number 1!), forms of genetic modification may well help us combat the upcoming challenges of things like climate change. If you can design plants that are more hearty to the coming extremes, all are better. Hell, if one could design plants/trees that are super efficient with sucking up carbon from the atmosphere (since the world has a hatred of hemp), genetic modification may become part of a solution.
Which is why having a new non GMO standard is worrying.
I get that many are worried about various chemicals ending up on their plates. Of course, im sure that many do not consider that absorbing all sorts of crap that the system was never meant to process is but a byproduct of life in a modern civilization that relies on chemicals for everything. Even strictly organic and non-gmo consumers cant escape this.
And then there is the absolute panic over oven TRACE amounts of GMO protein, in comparison to other foods with (seemingly) bigger problems.
For example, China landfilling whole shipping containers of food over finding 0.01% GMO protein after testing.
This compared to rice. A product that many recommend you limit consumption of (particularly to children) due to its arsenic content. Were talking a bowl of cereal or a few rice cakes VS an entire shipping container of Alfalfa.
There is nothing wrong with attempting to be conscious of what you are taking in, self limiting your chemical exposure. And it is concerning to be finding pesticides in finished goods like bread or bagels.
But even if that is the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the GMO acronym, that is but a part of a bigger picture.
This is one of those situations that has made me hate social media in recent years. All it takes is a few people with a skewed understanding (OR malicious intent) to breed an atmosphere of fear to the consuming public. A public often ignorant of the fine nuance needed to understand various aspects of science or social phenomenon, yet to stupid to research what they hear. Or if they do any research, its not information from people in the trades concerned. Its bloggers, easily debunked quack scientists and doctors, or youtube layman.
What was a mild nuisance before, has now become a formative threat. Since this false science and fear mongering can spread like wildfire with ease, effectively forcing a new standard. A standard that you are either bullied into following at the risk of your livelihood, or a standard that you can exploit.
Setting a new standard could be seen as a win for all consumers. If this standard helps correct some existing and unnecessary bad habits of the food industry, we all benefit. What bothers me, is how were getting there.
Setting aside the whole consumers as pawns argument, your left with the science. As great as Organic and traditional is in terms of image, footprint and perceived health benefit, it might not be the best option going forward. Stay on the path of least chemicals and additives. But also keep on researching, tinkering, making better plants.
Your life may depend on it.