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.
Well, my English failes me on the idiom but from what I have googled, this is about muscles and height-to-width proportions. This looks better to me, it's not about fat. As well as one can change clothes way easier than build a better body. Surely there're plenty obese Russians, but they're not of that degree of obesity which us common in the USA.
I guess the camera crew had good enough headlights. I can swear that show was stunning for an unfamiliar eye.
At some time in the future there will be basically two kinds of people. Those that eat GM foods and those that starve. — Captain Compassion
1) Never trust the Government!
2) The Government keeps telling me that GMO’s are perfectly safe to eat and will not harm me.
3) see #1
My understanding is there is GMO and there is GE... (Genetically Engineered) ...The 2nd one is the problem...altho I prefer my food “normal”
That already exists.
I hope you are not claiming a causal relationship between the two. If you are, you should provide some evidence.
Our obesity problem has much more to do with us having a higher standard of living (more and higher calorie food available, even for the poor) and much less physically strenuous lifestyles than in past generations. More calories and less exercise inevitably leads to obesity.
Another major factor has been the obsession with reducing dietary fats. Because reducing the fat content of food also reduces the flavor, food suppliers make up the difference with sugars. But while consuming dietary fats help trigger a sense of satiety and fullness, consuming sugars trigger cravings for more sugar.
No one is forced to buy seed from the hundred companies who have patented their product.
They can still plant that good old standby my father sold, XL45 by DeKalb seeds. It was a huge success, and millions of bushels of seed were sold to satisfied farmers.
Today, no one wants it, even though they still can get it, and for good reason. Profits.
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The best improvement to our food supply with genetics has been the bug resistance that produces crops that need less pesticides and results in more food per acre. People against genetics are also the very type of pinheads that are the flat-Earth types. A little bit of information is dangerous around them.
No, I'm not claiming this, but these two facts make me suspect this relationship is possible. And I don't understand the U.S. government's attempts to sink labelling GMO containing food laws in other countries. The people's right for information harms noone.
The upper part of people will never eat GM food. They can afford organic one and will be able to in future. The thing that matters is the size of that upper part.
Well, consider the French. Their living standard is high enough to rid themselves of food shortage, but still thir population is less obese.
No, it’s more about your peasant stock - really unpleasant-looking, squat men. Sorry but true. Your good-looking White Russians escaped to Paris 100 years ago. The only good-looking guys left are your ballet dancers.
I’d think better of his case if he at least acknowledged the other side. E.g., Europe’s ban, the only very short-term tests that have been conducted, and the worrisome results from some of those tests.
This is so laughably one-sided as to discredit his argument, IMO.
There is only one GM incident I’m aware of that could have been catastrophic. In this case it was a modified bacteria that typically enriches soil. However, they made it too good, and it took over the test bed, killing all the other bacteria.
Had it gotten loose, it could have destroyed arable farmland around the world for perhaps several years, until other microorganisms adapted to it.
Um ... to save money?
But, Balding Eagle.... my point is, what if I don’t want for some reason to have to buy seeds from anyone. What if I want to do as my greatgrandfather did and save seeds from my previoous crop? I can’t do that if my crop was cross pollinated with GMO’s.
There are cases are there now where Monsanto has come in and tested a farmer’s saved seeds and sued him for using them because the test shows his seed has Monsanto’s GMO in it.
Russians are drunk
Americans are fat.
No offense here, just facts of the real life.
It would make sense if we were sure that GE food is harmless. But possible high medical expenses outweigh this.
Farmers haven't done that for more than 60 years for corn, lesser years for other crops. There are companies who specialize in providing the type of seed you want, but they are few and far between because no who is in business can make any money on 'free' seed.
The XL45 line from DeKalb Hybrids back in the 70s was a single cross hybrid and the seed from that crop was worthless as seed. That was true for 100% of the field production corn for at least a decade prior.
It may all become moot if more countries follow the lead of the EU and Russia and ban GMO’s from their food chain.
If you can’t sell it, farmers won’t grow it.
My main complaint about them is all this cloak-and-dagger they engage in to keep you from finding out if your food contains any GMO’s or not. Monsanto et. al. fight tooth and nail against any sort of consumer labeling law. That makes me very suspicious on the face of it.
The case you cite where monsanto sues farmers for incidental cross polination is one of the worst aspects of the gmo technology. It removes traditional farming practices of saving some of your crop for seed.
The supreme court set this up by allowing patents for gmos- and the courts serving the huge money interests in ruling a natural cross polination is patent infingement.
Another issue with gmos- labelling. If the science is settled, what is their problem with labels?
I generally like john stossel, but here he misses the mark.
Russian men are drunk, squat, arrogant and wear awful track suits and too-tight suits.
American men are tall and handsome, don’t drink to excess, work very hard and keep their dislike of “foreigners” under control when traveling abroad - unlike Russians who enjoy insulting Americans when seated near them at dinner parties in NYC.
I know of what I speak.
He’s dead, Jim.
(the REALLY, REALLY fat guy)
The reason for the reluctance is simple, we are surrounded (using the words of Steve Forbes)Food Luddites. These Luddites are no different than the Luddites of the 1900s, they want to force everyone to walk in lockstep with them by throwing a wrench in the greatest Food Machine ever seen in the entire history of the world.
Think about that for a moment.
Never, ever, never before has the world seen such an efficient, fast moving, huge, huge, food producing machine.
The food Luddites want to wreck it, and, like the Homosexual Lobby, they have decided the best way to do that is to force everyone, you, me, all of our families, our children grandchildren, to believe and eat as they do.
They aren’t content to eat GMO free food which is readily available to anyone who wants it (think Organic), they insist that everyone accept their homosexual, er, GMO free lifestyle with the battering ram of our legal system.
Mexico currently exceeds the United States in the percentage of population considered obese. However, obesity levels have been increasing in most industrial countries over the last few decades, even in places like France. However, the obesity problem does not stem from GMOs but rather from the switch to the high carbohydrate, low fat diets popularized over the last 40 years. The worst carbohydrates came from processed foods, including white bread, pasta, and dessert products. These are the ones that are the cheapest to make and to sell. Vegetables and fruit are inexpensive but most vegetables require preparation, something people, especially single people and those families with both spouses employed, find difficult. The link of fat to heart disease, popularized in the Framingham study from the 1960s, proved to be inaccurate. However, the low fat mentality is still out there.
“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.”
Reminds me of my uncle who was driving drunk without incident for 30 years. No big deal until his luck ran out in one instant.
Yes, man has altered plants/animals throughout history but it was through simple breeding and selection that already exists in nature. We have never directly altered genes before.
I agree that GMOs are probably not too different once on your plate, give some incredible benefits and help feed starving people. However, man cannot test for all unintended future consequences in a lab. Releasing self-replicating artificial gene sequences into the wild is ignorantly playing with fire. Period