Okay, so I can’t claim to know if Genetically Modified (GM/GMO) foods are completely harmless as we just don’t know yet. Some variants may be absolutely safe, positive contributions to our food systems, but I fear they’re getting broad brush approval due to financial concerns. Given time, we’ll learn whether or not they are loaded with hidden dangers. Connecticut is considering legislation which would require all GM foods be labeled as such. This seems a fair approach as it would then give consumers the opportunity to make informed choices. It would also help raise our collective level of awareness, as I believe few know how pervasive these products are. It’s probably no surprise that I advocate for the precautionary principle* as this wouldn’t be the first time technological progress preceded scientific knowledge of a technology’s drawbacks.
In light of the recent Heartland Institute dustup, I think it’s worth sharing a couple of relevant articles on Connecticut’s GM Foods debate. The first is from the Hartford Courant, the local newspaper:
Here’s the opening to the Courant piece:
Critics call it Frankenfood and say it may pose health risks.
But food manufacturers and some farmers say genetically modified food is safe and are fighting efforts in Connecticut and around the nation to require that such products be labeled.
The second is from the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a think tank which describes itself thusly, “Unlike some so-called consumer-advocacy organizations that misrepresent science and distort health priorities, ACSH has a well-established policy of presenting balanced, scientifically sound analyses of current health topics.”
Compare the Courant article’s opening to that of the ACSH piece:
And speaking of junk science legislation, a Connecticut state environmental committee is considering a bill that would require a label on all genetically engineered foods. Yet Gregory J. Costa, director of state affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, counters fears that such biotech products are somehow harmful.
I urge you to read both of these pieces and weigh them against each other. I see this as a microcosm of the sad state of discourse today. If we don’t work to become aware of our biases, and those which we are being fed, we put ourselves at the behest of the information we consume. So don’t take my word for it, go think it through for yourself.
* – The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence ofscientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is notharmful falls on those taking the action. Source: Wikipedia
Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. – Cree Indian Proverb