Farm Press Blog

GMO scare is a lot of hype with little substance


• GMO scare is a lot of hype with little substance. • GMO Inside offers tips and suggestions for consumers on how to remove unwanted GMOs from their holiday feasts. • The United States continues to have the best, safest, most affordable food supply in the world.

Several years ago I received a news release, just before Thanksgiving, urging folks to abstain from turkey at their holiday feast and to substitute “tofurkey” instead. Tofurky is a concoction of soy and a bunch of other stuff (spices and what not) that apparently adds flavor to the meat substitute.

I suggested that I would forego the tofurkey and enjoy a real turkey with friends and family. As I recall, I also added a pork loin to the feast—real pork, not tofahog, or whatever.

I received emails from people who thought they had the right to tell me what I should eat. Some called me names, including a word also used to describe a donkey. I survived—sticks and stones, as they say.

Just last week I received another news release from folks who want me to screen all my Thanksgiving foods to make certain there are no GMO products lurking in the turkey. GMO, the news release said, may be “an unwelcome and hidden guest at your Thanksgiving celebration.

“This year GMO Inside, a new coalition that advocates for increased consumer awareness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods, is offering tips and suggestions for consumers on how to remove unwanted GMOs from their holiday feasts,” the release read.

It also provided a list of products that should be eliminated from the Thanksgiving menu. I will not repeat the list, but it includes some well-known and well-respected name brands and popular products.

As I have said before, people have a right to eat whatever they want—organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-based (I have no problem with soy but really prefer meat.), local or omnivorous. And if folks want to research every product they buy to determine if it has transgenic properties, then I guess they have the right to do that.

And if an organization has an issue with a product, any product, I agree that it has the right, perhaps even the responsibility, to alert the public.

However, and this is a big however, when an organization determines that a product is bad and decides to turn other people against it, they should offer some facts to support the reasoning behind the boycott.

I found no such reasoning in this particular press release. The only “evidence” supplied was that GMO products have not been adequately studied and tested for human consumption. In all the adverse publicity I’ve seen, heard and read over the last decade and more condemning GMO products, I’ve yet to see evidence of any ill effects from them.

There have been rumors and there have been many examples of hyperbole—frankenfoods, products that will turn consumers green or make them glow in the dark—and other ridiculous claims that had no merit.

I’m not fearful of GMO foods. I’m also not afraid to eat non-organic foods or foods that traveled more than 14 miles to get to the market. I’m convinced that the United States continues to have the best, safest, most affordable food supply in the world and perhaps in the history of the world. And I’m equally convinced that the USDA and the FDA are doing their jobs to assure us that our food supply is of the highest quality.

I’m also convinced that many organizations use controversy to attract attention and often portray problems where none exist.

I’m looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving turkey later this week, perhaps another pork loin and if GMOs are on the menu, I’ll dig into those as well. Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Casey Sexton (not verified)
on Nov 20, 2012

You obviously have very little knowledge on food safety and thus shouldn't be writing an article about such. GMO's are incredibly dangerous and there is scientific evidence and studies to back it up. Look up the longest study ever done on GMO fed rats. You can view it in the Chemical & Food Toxicology Report. Over 60 industrialized nations believe its a big enough concern to label GMO's on its food label. Also, Kaiser Permante, the largest healthcare provider of the US recently warned their health care recipients of the dangers of GMO's. This isn't some hippy dippy stuff, this is some scientific laboratory studied knowledge. The dangers are real & are well documented. People like you are a disgrace to the food safety community & before advising people that there is no proof regarding the dangers of GMO's you should do some research. There is plenty of evidence available so this leads me to believe you didn't even do a google search before writing this article. Happy thanksgiving, hope the GMO's don't give you are your family organ failure, cancer or disease!

Steven Hofer (not verified)
on Nov 23, 2012

Very well stated. If GMO foods are safe, why did all these mega companies spend millions of dollars to help defeat California's GMO labeling law. Why not spend that money on research and educate the public about the real truth on GMO? There has been enough research to date to suggest GMO is nasty stuff so I can appreciate why these companies don't want us (the general public) to know the truth. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

Roger Haldenby (not verified)
on Nov 23, 2012

I'm sorry, but Miss, Mrs, Ms, or Mr. Casey Sexton needs to do some research in the real world about Genetic Modification in food production rather than depending on the suggested 'googling' only to find articles by equally ill-informed yet opinionated individuals.
I have known Mr. Ron Smith for over two decades and have always had the greatest respect for the depth of research that goes into his work, giving him the ability to add some levity to his writing, as opposed to the shallow yet vitriolic and vacuous critique by Miss, Mrs, Ms, or Mr. Casey Sexton.
And if she or he would do a little googling into this so called study of GMO fed rats, he pr she would discover it to be seriously flawed to the point of being totally discredited.
Haapy Thanksgiving.

K. B. Anderson (not verified)
on Nov 23, 2012

If you you avoid food like Mr. Smith is supporting, you will not live longer, it will just seem that way. I may lose a year or two but I'll enjoy the time that God gives me.

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