Skip to comments.Eat Without Fear
Posted on 05/28/2014 4:08:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
It's easy to scare people about what's in their food, but the danger is almost never real. And the fear itself kills.
Take the panic over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Ninety percent of all corn grown in America is genetically modified now. That means it grew from a seed that scientists altered by playing with its genes. The new genes may make corn grow faster, or they may make it less appetizing to bugs so farmers can use fewer pesticides.
This upsets some people. GMOs are "unnatural," they say. A scene from the movie "Seeds of Death" warns that eating GMOs "causes holes in the GI tract" and "causes multiple organ system failure."
The restaurant chain Chipotle, which prides itself on using organic ingredients, produces videos suggesting that industrial agriculture is evil, including a comedic Web series called "Farmed and Dangerous" about an evil agricultural feed company that threatens to kill its opponents and whose products cause cows to explode.
Michael Hansen of Consumer Reports sounds almost as frightening when he talks about GMOs. On my show, he says, "It's called insertional mutagenesis ... you can't control where you're inserting that genetic information; it can have different effects depending on the location."
Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project responds: "We've eaten about 7 trillion meals in the 18 years since GMOs first came on the market. There's not one documented instance of someone getting so much as a sniffle."
Given all the fear from media and activists, you might be surprised to learn that most serious scientists agree with him. "There have been about 2,000 studies," says Entine, and "there is no evidence of human harm in a major peer-reviewed journal."
That might be enough to reassure people if they knew how widespread and familiar GMOs really are -- but as long as they think of GMOs as something strange and new, they think more tests are needed, more warnings, more precaution.
Yet people don't panic over ruby red grapefruits, which were first created in laboratories by bombarding strains of grapefruit with radiation. People don't worry about corn and other crops bred in random varieties for centuries without farmers having any idea exactly what genetic changes occurred.
We didn't even know what genes were when we first created new strains of plants and animals. There's no reason to believe modern methods of altering genes are any more dangerous.
In fact, because they're far more precise, they're safer.
And since genetic modification can make crops more abundant and easier to grow, it makes food cheaper. That's especially good for the poor. Another life-changer is a new strain of vitamin A-enriched rice that has the potential to decrease the frequency of blindness that now afflicts about a half-million people a year, mostly children.
But activists -- who tend to be rich and well-fed -- are pressuring countries in Asia and Africa into rejecting GMO rice.
Crusades against food are endless. First Lady Michelle Obama urges students to eat organic, even though that term has no real meaning in science besides "partly composed of carbon."
My nonprofit for schoolteachers, Stossel in the Classroom, offers free videos that introduce students to economics. This year, we ran an essay contest inviting students to write on the topic "Food Nannies: Who Decides What You Eat?"
I was happy to see that many students understood that this debate is about more than safety. It's really about freedom. Sixteen-year-old Caroline Clausen won $1,000 for her essay, which contained this sarcastic passage: "Congress shall have the power to regulate the mixing, baking, serving, labeling, selling and consumption of food. Did James Madison's secretary forget to copy this provision into the Constitution?"
Rising generations will have more food options than ever before. They face less risk of starvation or disease than any humans who have ever lived. Let's give them science instead of scare stories
The preoccupation with food is a mental illness.
Let people eat what they want.
be a result of GMO food? The USA eats GMO and the most disgusting fatbodies are found there (at least, according to TV).
Probably, but a video of the last New-York blackout showed unbelievable numbers of unbelievably fat people walking somewhere over a bridge.
Why would prosperous people eat GMO food (which is cheap)?
I’ll pass the roundup and roundup-ready GMO’s on to John. And I do wish my groceries were labeled as to which is which.
Just wait till Mooooooooooochelle gets a hold of this, there is gonna be hell to pay!
John Stossel is obviously another highly paid stooge for Big Corn.
Time and Time again, I have seen young women that are hyperzealots about food. I think every teenaged girl goes through a vegetarian phase... and we have seen all the diet trends. Pritikin, Atkins, South Beach, whatever. Now it is this gluten free baloney, "paleo" dieting. While some of the science is real with nutrition, what remains with these women is an underlying need to feel they have providence over their health. Food is a control issue thing and eating habits is an form of validation of self will. I have seen so many picky eaters... I myself can be picky, but I am certainly not difficult for the sake of being difficult like these women I see in the healthfood stores. Interestingly enough, these women... what I deem as "future crazy cat ladies" are VERY attractive to me... not sure why.
He makes good points, and all in all, I agree with him. I think the anti GMO food hysteria is misplaced, but there are still enough reasons to be concerned, so therefore I would still prefer to eat non-GMO food.
The same is true for chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers contain only nutrients needed for plants. They contain nothing else, as opposed to the myriad of harmful ingredients in manure, bugs, enzymes and all that are spread on "organic" products.
I believe that is due to quantity.
I don't think the average person can comprehend just how much food is available to the people of the United States right now.
After all is said and done, the science all in, years of no negative data, acceptance based on not even needing to know what you are eating, knowing how much cheaper, easier and yes healthier, greener it is to feed the masses.
The environment is so much better now, this ad brought to you by the manufacturers of government mandated and approved...Soylent Green!
I’m all over natural foods and we grow our own veggies, chicken eggs, and go in with a neighbor on raising our own beef cattle.
That said, I agree with John. I have a friend that refuses to buy a microwave oven because of what it does to food. What it does to food is speed up the atoms, heating the food. That is what a fire does. The result is EXACTLY the same.
My only complaint about GMO’s is the active pursuit of farmers who have some sprouted seed on their land that just blew there for payment for using someones seed.
And that is the big problem with GMO seed. But the food it produces? Meh.
Stossel’s either ignorant or misleading. Much of the the GMO corn has been made resistant to herbicides—so more herbicides can be used.
I have to be in the right mood for certain meals, salads or fish, even steak, I agree it is a control thing
Phew! Russian men are built like s**t brickhouses. And those cheap, tight suits don’t hide that fact.
How, during a blackout, could you see anybody?
Actually, city people - because they walk - are usually a little thinner than people who have to drive everywhere.
There are certainly other issues concerning GMO foods that scare me.
One big issue is that of Monsanto fast becoming the “owner” of all the seeds.
Let’s say, I have a farm and grow (for instance) corn. I don’t have to buy seeds each year because I save seeds from last year’s crop to use. But down the road is a neighbor’s farm growing Monsanto’s GMO corn. Natural (unpreventable) pollination occurs between our two crops and my crop get’s “polluted” with the GMO genes. Now Monsanto can come in and tell me that I can’t use the seed I save from my this year’s crop because since it has their patented genes in it, they OWN those seeds.
So what happens is that I will forever have to pay Monsanto in order to grow corn..... or perhaps I will even be forbidden one day to grow my own food if the powers-that-be deem me the wrong political side or wrong religion. That is power that can easily get into the wrong hands ..... and it’s happening as we speak.