Why all the hate for genetically modified (GMO) foods?
It seems like one thing granola-munching hippies and buck-hunting far-righters agree on is that GMOs are somehow dangerous and that everyone should go organic.
The reasons for their evil (corporate greed, big government conspiracy, junk science) are varied – and all deeply flawed.
Celebrities and public figures of various stripes have spent years painting horror stories about the impacts of eating GMO, yet the simple fact is that there is no material benefit from organic food compared to GMO foods, and GMO foods have no negative health consequences.
Yet, to date there has only ever been one significant study into the effects of GMO foods that showed negative outcomes, and that particular study was subsequently discredited. The journal that published the piece even had to retract the piece when they realized how deeply flawed the research process had been.
Ironically, the pseudo-scientific hysteria surrounding organic and non-GMO products has created a whole industry that has grown in recent years into big business, peddling all manner of different designations and certifications to prove that there is definitely no “GMO poison” in whatever it is they are selling.
And since “organic” and “non-GMO” are labels that carry premium pricing benefits, they have become useful ways for companies to differentiate their products in the market.
That much is just capitalism, so you won’t hear me complain about that. Whether they believe in their snake oil or not is no skin off my nose. Eating organic certainly doesn’t harm anyone. But trying to force other people to do so can be, and that’s where the real problems start, i.e. when the government gets involved.
While we have a lot of disposable income in the developed world to spend on premium priced foods – and on things other than food – in much of the world, subsistence or near-subsistence is part and parcel with life.
Many people simply cannot afford the luxury of discerning between the provenances of different kinds of kale.
With more than 7 billion people on this planet, and more coming every day, there needs to be a way to feed them.
The simple reality is that non-GMO crops, let alone the more exacting methods involved in high-end organic farming, could not provide sufficient food to feed the multitudes.
It is one of the perverse ironies of the iPhone carrying, latte drinking, left, that its myopic view of what it considers “good for you” will get you killed – especially if you happen to live in one of the poor countries they like to make sad Facebook posts about.
As much as they call it “unnatural” and other such nonsense, it is genetically modified grains such as golden wheat and dwarf wheat that have staved off numerous famines and helped keep our civilization from falling into the ubiquitous “Malthusian trap.”
The consequences are real. Scare campaigns about the evils of GMO have led to countries with fragile food supplies rejecting them out of fear. That is a real harm.
Government intervention usually causes problems. In the case of banning or discouraging GMO, we have a case of government literally starving people to death.
This post was written by John Engle.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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