Tricia Braid

Nov 19, 2014  |  Today's News

Who knew that it would be the L.A. Times that stands up for GMO crops? That seems to be the case after the paper published an editorial calling attention to the absurdity of a proposed city council ordinance that would ban the cultivation of genetically modified plants in the city limits. Are you snickering? Ya, we did, too.

The Times first points out that it’s pretty darn silly to worry about banning GMO crops in the city since, well, there aren’t any growing there and no one plans to start growing them there. The opinion piece’s writers point out that the councilmen, “(cite) concern by consumers that genetically engineered food might be unsafe to eat, a position that is not backed by years of scientific study. The councilmen point out in support of their proposal that 5

2% of county voters favored a failed 2012 statewide proposition that would have required that labels be put on foods with bioengineered ingredients — ignoring the fact that labeling a product and banning the process that created it are entirely different things.”

That’s right, labeling a product and banning the process that created it ARE completely different things. Hats off to the Times. Such a distinction seems elementary, but many discussions around GMOs, especially those that are fueled in the health and government conspiracy crowds, are clouded with inaccuracies and flat out lies.

Take this photo meme that’s made the rounds on blogs, twitter, and facebook. Right off the bat you can identify what’s wrong with it and the claims it’s supposedly supporting. But to fearful consumers it might as well be an illustration in a religious text. The so-called “Food Babe” is circulating it. Her caption on the photo says, “The hand on the left contains seeds developed in a laboratory by Monsanto (the blue coating contains 5 different toxic chemicals). The hand on the right contains seeds that come from Mother Nature. Don't you think we should have the right to know which one we are eating and buying?”

It’s a long row to hoe, so to speak, to get to a better understanding of biotechnology. If you run into people with questions that you’re having a hard time answering, you can always refer them to the Illinois Farm Families website, www.watchusgrow.org or to the industry-funded website, www.gmoanswers.com.