No GMO Mash
Food For Thought: GMO Logic
I’m not going to make any claims here that GMO foods are dangerous. Maybe you believe they are, maybe you don’t. That’s basically the point behind efforts to label foods that contain GMO, isn’t it? We’re supposed to have faith in the ability of free markets to reach sound conclusions. (If not, we’re all doomed.) At least in theory en masse we generally get it right.
Some companies, though, seem to chafe at the bit at the bit when it comes to revealing information about what’s actually in their foods. So many “secret” ingredients and the like. So many euphemisms like “natural flavors” to avoid a detailed accounting of what’s really in there. (And happily stamped “OK” by Uncle Sam, too.)
But without information what possible decision-making can take place? I submit that a free market can’t reach those legendary conclusions in a void of data. Without the ability to weigh facts, the market must simply go where it is led by the powerful few in the know. As a general rule other people making decisions on your behalf don’t turn out all that well.
1913: 100% of corn was farmer owned. By 2013 approx. 95% was owned by corporations.
–A statistic I found all over the Internet which may or may not be real
Today, without attempting to examine real and/or imagined ills that may or may not be associated with GMO, I wish to look at a single debate point offered by those who oppose labeling. What GMO means to you should be something you investigate for yourself. See if you can, somehow, sort through all the noise and determine your own level of comfort.
I look at it like this? If given the choice of no food and dying of starvation or nom nom on some GMO most of us would probably choose the latter and take our chances. Is that the issue in a nutshell? As Earth converts farmland to condominiums and strip malls and the population continues to increase no doubt one day we’ll all be facing a question like that. (And insects. Don’t forget the edibility of insects.)
So, here in Oregon, a lot of us signed a petition and Measure 92 qualified for the ballot. It’s a measure that Oregon voters will decide this November. The aim of the measure is to mandate labeling of GMOs in food.
Naturally, now we’re being subjected to a horrifying barrage of television ads both for and against. One of the arguments against the measure kind of stuck in my craw. Let’s take a look.
Scurvy Pumpkin Hunter
Halloween may be over but pumpkin may yet be on the menu. I’m talking about, of course, the Pumpkin Taco. Better make a run from the Bell or you’ll have little to be thankful for this month.
The reader of this blog may already know that we recently moved to Portland, Oregon.
Located about 10 miles northwest of downtown is a place called Sauvie Island. It’s the largest island on the mighty Columbia River and one of the largest river islands in the United States. I’d never heard of it before moving here.
The island is about 26,000 square acres and home to primarily farmland and protected wildlife areas and even a nude beach. Ever since we arrived it has been a popular destination to for us to visit for photography, picking our own produce, and bird watching.
It’s also home to some of the biggest pumpkin patches in the Portland area, including one that is “haunted,” the corn maze bit, yada yada yada.
It was also where my wife wanted to go pumpkin shopping. So, one find day, we grabbed our machetes and headed out to the island. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Continue reading →
HFCS. High-fructose corn syrup.
I was just subjected to an ad by these motherfuckers as payment for watching a YouTube video. Gag me with a spoon!
OK, HFCS. You got my attention. You want to play? Let’s play!
First things first. The ads say they are paid for by the “Corn Refiners Association.”
WTF #1 – Corn can be refined? Now that’s something I didn’t now, and didn’t want to know. Ever!
Technically the ad I saw was paid for by The Center for Consumer Freedom. Ah, freedom! Such a noble concept. Who could ever object to something like “freedom,” right?
So who is this Center for Consumer Freedom, anyway? According to their official web site:
The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.
Am I reading that correctly? It seems they are saying that those who use their products are irresponsible but that we should have the freedom to be irresponsible like that if we want.
Not quite the most compelling inducement of all time. Heh!
The commercial I saw had an ear of corn in a police line up with a sugar cube and a bottle of honey. It made the following points:
- All three have the same calories.
- All three are processed by the body in the same way.
As my body double Chris Farley was often wont say, “Well, La-Dee Frickin’ Dah!”
Let’s assume the claims in this ad are true. What has been proved? Is HFCS healthy? No. They make no such claim. If anything, the ad can be interpreted as saying, “Hey, don’t pick on us. We’re just as bad as these other guys.”
But that’s not where my beef lies with these folks. (Did I mention they hate PETA, too?)
Try This at Home Science Experiment
It’s time for a science experiment, boys and girls. One you can even do yourselves!
For this experiment you will need:
- The ability to read
- A grocery store
Step 1 – Go to a grocery store.
Step 2 – Find the soup aisle.
Step 3 – Pick up a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.
Step 4- Read the label and find the ingredients.
Step 5 – Identify the third ingredient listed, by volume. (Per U.S. labeling laws.)
Well, what did you come up with?
If you found “high-fructose corn syrup” you are a critical thinker and first class scientist! Well done! (For my photograph above I used Brand X and HFCS was the second ingredient. It went: tomato, HFCS, then water. Mmm mmm good food, eh?)
According to the label on the can, that’s 24 grams of sugar carbohydrates per “serving.” And we all know what a “serving” is, right? About 1/4 of what a typical American will eat. 🙂
It’s not just tomato soup, either. HFCS can be found in a dizzying array of surprising products. Why is that, you think? Americans have quite the sweet tooth. Even our non-dessert foods need to be sugary.
Now the people who brought us plan to rename their product. Instead of “high fructose corn syrup” it will be “corn sugar.” Their goal? Obfuscation! It seems HFCS has a negative connotation in the minds of many consumers these days, so the solution is obvious. Rename it! That should be them some time.
The Corn Refiners Association has a high opinion of consumers. “Clearly the name is confusing consumers,” said the president of the group. (Source.)
I don’t think consumers are confused at all.
A high fructose corn syrup by any other name would smell as sweet.