South Orange, NJ
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
By Alan Caruba
If you say "genetically modified food" to most people they will swear to you they would never eat it, but Americans have been eating biotech crops for years and they are not dying in the streets.
They are, in fact, getting fatter from eating too much of the abundance of foods that fill our supermarkets. Want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more. We have a lot of fat kids in America because too many sit on their bottoms for hours every day either watching television or playing with the various wonders of technology they prefer rather than getting out and playing basketball, baseball, soccer, riding a bike, or any other activity that isn't restricted to using their thumbs to "text" one another.
Every so often I am driven to a state of rage over the stupidity of people who are utterly clueless regarding biotech crops, but who insist that eating "organic" foods grown with no protection against insect and weed predation is safe. I most certainly do not want to eat anything that involves using manure to aid its growth.
The latest example of gross stupidity comes, of course, from California which has Proposition 37 on its November ballot. Its official name is the "Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act." It would require labeling of anything involving GM foods. No foods would be allowed to be marketed as "natural", "naturally made", "naturally grown" or "all natural."
Meanwhile, one third of all the corn grown in America has been genetically modified even as the federal government insanely demands that billions of bushels be turned into fuel substitute—ethanol—that corrodes auto engines and decreases the mileage gasoline provides.
The modifications that have been developed over the years ensure larger crop yields because they are able to resist drought, their natural pesticides have been enhanced to fend off the countless species of insects that would destroy them or permit the use of herbicides that kill the weeds that would choke their growth if not eliminated without having any effect on the crops they protect.
Why is it that humans are always thrilled to learn that some new pharmaceutical discovery will cure a disease that would otherwise kill them, but the blood drains from their face if you tell them that the food they eat has been produced from genetically modified seeds?
The fact is that biotech food crops have survived rigorous regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and there isn't a scintilla of evidence that demonstrates they are any different from foods that are not grown from GM seeds. Despite the claims that there have been "studies" that "suggest", "indicate", or otherwise infer a health problem, the bottom line is that there is zero proof of this.
Last year I wrote a five-part series on Bisphenol A, a chemical in use safely for decades and that continues to protect plastic and other containers of food against spoilage and has the added advantage of keeping plastic bottles from breaking. Thousands of studies attest to its safety, but the Internet is filled with articles claiming it is a threat to health.
In this modern age of miracles, the result of real science, there are way too many people who regard every chemical as a hazard when, in fact, our bodies use and process chemicals, mostly from what we eat and drink, every day of our lives. Potatoes and other vegetables contain minute amounts of cyanide, but no one dies from it because you would have to eat several truckloads of potatoes at one sitting to ingest a lethal quantity.
The million Californians that signed the petition to put Prop. 37 on the ballot are idiots. That goes for the more than forty other nations that currently require such labeling. Europe has led the charge against biotech foods. Indeed, were it not for the development of biotech foods, known as the Green Revolution, there would be vastly more famine worldwide.
The Californians are like so many others that are subjected to the idiotic propaganda about "industrial" foods. It is another way of saying that two percent of the U.S. population feeds all the rest of us and has enough crops left over to export and thus enhance our economy. Modern farming is one of the great wonders of world, permitting few people to use extraordinary machines to plant and harvest crops on a level unknown before the advent of the last century.
Every time there is an outbreak of e-coli or salmonella, people do get sick. As often as not it is because the food was not stored properly, was subject to rodent predation, or like "organic" crops picked up the disease from the manner in which they are grown. About one in every 39,000,000 Americans becomes ill, about eight a day, suffering food poisoning. There's one death for every 125,000,000 million
There are 310,000,000 million Americans eating a billion meals a day. If there was a real threat from biotech foods or animal products from livestock protected against illness by antibiotics, we would know it.
As if California doesn't have enough problems and doesn't cost its citizens more to live and work there than any other State, a vote for Prop 37 will just work one more hardship on everyone involved in the food chain that keeps these dopes well fed.
South Orange, NJ