Last Tuesday the major headline in the Delaware News Journal was this: GMO’s: 10 simple questions (and some surprising answers). It was a broad article; offering a quiz to better understand GMO’s and claiming to provide additional information from experts on both sides of this controversial topic. However, I don’t feel as though it truly represented both sides.
My first concern is for the impartial reader who will decide to research the topic more and may begin with the campaigns mentioned, which are against GMO production. The campaigns and studies in support of GMO’s were not mentioned, which leaves the reader misinformed. My second concern is the negative tone this article places on our food system and food safety. And my last, and probably most important concern, is that a grower of GMO’s was not mentioned, interviewed, or photographed for this article.
Here are the facts that should have also been included:
- Farmers in Delaware produce GMO crops. Farmers (and gardeners) have been creating plant hybrids for a long time. It is a more efficient way to produce greater yields as American farmers feed approximately 155 people a day. In 1960, that number was 25.8.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number of people experiencing food-borne illnesses annually continues to decline. 99.99% of meals eaten everyday are consumed safely without incident.
- The USDA strives to ensure that all foods in this country meet the same high standards of safety.
- Every plant improved through the use of biotechnology for food is examined by the FDA and EPA for potential health risks.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reports current foods containing biotech ingredients have passed human health risk assessments.
- There are campaigns in support of farmers who grow GMO’s such as the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).
- There are campaigns targeting consumers such as CommonGround, which motivates farm women to engage with consumers to enhance American’s trust in food and farming.
There is much more to this conversation and topic and I believe all consumers have a right to choose. I just hope consumers look at both sides of story. Keep in mind, as our population steadily grows, American farmers will be pressured to produce more on fewer acres. Nearly all estimates of future food demand prove they will have to double agricultural production by 2050, if not before. Biotechnology, including GMO’s, will be the only way this will happen.