This is the fourth and final post in my food biotechnology series.
I was interviewed for a television story today about legislation on the labeling of GMO’s in Minnesota. Last week I presented at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on this topic to other nutrition professionals. A month or so ago, I wrote an op-ed. GMO’s are a hot topic. But do they really need to be?
The key to understanding what GMO’s really are is reading the research – reliable, reputable and credible research. I’ve compiled that research in three blog posts (see the links below). And note, food biotechnology is a more appropriate choice of words in place of the acronym GMO (genetically modified organisms), since so many have given it a negative spin.
Changing the genes of plants happens naturally with the wind and with our own human hands. Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been altered by human hands, including organic and heirloom seeds. That isn’t a bad thing. Take for example, wild cabbage. Would we want to just eat wild cabbage?
Image courtesy of www.gmoanswers.com
Probably not. Wild cabbage became all these different foods through the use of breeding and selection (not biotechnology). Is this method wrong?
Labeling foods produced with biotechnology will really only tell us one thing. How that food came about in a precise and efficient fashion and that the developers and researchers did this with ultimate care about the safety of our families, the environment and our farmers. Shouldn’t all food be produced with the same care?
The FDA already requires labeling for foods produced with biotechnology if the food is made different in composition, if the nutrient content has changed or if a new allergen is introduced. And since none of that is actually true in the current foods that are on the market that have been produced with biotechnology, there is not a need for a label.
Let me put it one more way, if we choose to be against the use of biotechnology, then we are against flu vaccines, insulin for my friends and family members with diabetes, penicillin as an antibiotic and HIV therapies, all forms of medical biotechnology. If we are against foods produced with biotechnology, then we are against a consistent and affordable food supply in America, a food supply that provides nutritious and wholesome food. If we are against foods produced with biotechnology, then we are against the 15 million (of the 17.3 million farmers worldwide that use biotechnology) farmers in poor, developing countries that are using that technology to feed their families and become food secure. If we are against foods produced with food biotechnology, then we are against the nearly one million people in the world that don’t have enough to eat every day, the 24,000 of those that die each day (18,000 of which are under 5 years old) from not having enough to eat. If we are against foods produced with food biotechnology, then we are against the more than 200 million people worldwide that have vitamin A deficiency, the leading cause of blindness in Asia and Africa (it can also cause death) where vitamin A poor rice and sorghum is eaten and where now researchers are working on “golden rice” and fortified sorghum to correct the problem.
I’m a farmer’s daughter, I’ve always been interested in where my food comes from and care how it’s produced and most importantly, I’m a mom. I encourage all moms to base their food purchases on facts instead of fiction.
Best Food Facts, check out the five videos that feature moms that have questions about genetically modified food (go to the Expert Videos tab)
GMO Answers, a website dedicated to providing the truth about foods produced with biotechnology.