How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the GMO
Here is your happy thought of the day: Maybe the thing that will do us in will not be the bomb or global climate change, but rather some other disaster of our making.
I only say that because there is new evidence to suggest that genetically modified corn causes organ failure in some mammals.
It’s not like genetically modified corn is in everything.
It’s easy enough to avoid corn.
Except it’s not. Corn is in everything.
From our meat to our sweets.
It’s even in our milk.
Really the killer is that the American consumer does not know what products have genetically modified organisms in them. Our government does not require labeling for the little piece of information that says, “made with a plant that can survive being sprayed with chemicals that kill every single other living thing” or something like that.
I had put a lot of hope in the human body.
Our bodies are great at doing a lot of amazing things.
Getting rid of the bad stuff we put in them is high up on that list.
Which is why this news is so disheartening.
Now maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Perhaps somebody with a bit more of a science or medical background can take a look at the full text of the study and let me know.
I can be a bit of a reactionary. And I saw that very clearly as I went shopping for groceries last night.
It would never occur to me to buy organic ketchup. Tomatoes are after all, on the lower end of the pesticide load spectrum. But there is corn syrup in ketchup. And vinegar can be made from distilled GMO corn too. It turns out organic ketchup could put my mind at ease for a mere 100% premium over the regular stuff. So I bought it.
And if the study suggests GMO corn is bad, what about the other big GMO crops: soybeans and canola?
Well, we needed more cereal. If you eliminate conventional soy in addition to corn from your consideration set, it’s organic-only cereal for you, buster. My favorite Kashi cereals did not pass muster under the new cruelty of the day.
Mrs. Fussy is not going to be happy with what came home. But at least her liver and kidneys will be safe.
Taking a big deep breath in now.
Slowly letting it out.
This news and my reaction do raise an interesting issue. How do we as consumers live our lives and make food choices for our families? Which food news do we choose to believe? And which issues of the day are just too overwhelming to deal with?
Food news is easy to dismiss, especially as it has led to almost comical missteps in the past. Just look at the case of butter. The current trans fat bans can be traced back to the attempt at reducing dietary cholesterol in the food supply. Turns out the solution was worse than the problem.
At this point I don’t know how legitimate this study is. Yet regardless it is having a significant effect on me. Perhaps the problem is that I was already a bit leery of GMOs before the news.
But if these scientifically altered plants are not as safe as was originally purported, the damage is likely already done. They exist. Their pollen is in the air. And what we choose to eat may not be able to change these organisms’ place in the food chain.
Still, if I can help it I am going to try and keep conventionally raised corn, soybeans and canola out of the house for a while. I’ll use up what’s on hand. But I’m going to vote with my wallet. [Note from Mrs. Fussy: yeah…vote with a lot of your wallet!]
Please just tell me I’m crazy, and we can move on to cocktail Friday (where I promise not to talk about buying organic spirits).