I talk often about GMOs and organic foods here on the blog. I mean, they are a pretty hot topic these days. As for myself, I find it pretty easy to support conventionally-raised foods and GM products because I’ve done my research and believe that’s the best choice for my family.
But I also try my darndest to allow for others’ choices as well. In other words, if you whole-heartedly believe in the power of organics and non-GMO foods, it’s your right to spend your money on those products and choose them for your family.
We may not agree, but that’s okay.
Where I stumble is when I come across articles like this one that, without sources or background information, passively condemn one production type over another. Or, worse yet, include information that’s just plain incorrect.
The article mentioned above, from Eco Child’s Play, is touting the benefits of the first school lunch program to go 100 percent organic and GMO-free.
My first thought was, “Okay. Not my choice, or what I would want for my kid, but okay.”
Then I saw this:
All ingredients are organic, with absolutely no exceptions.
To be certified organic, a farmer must avoid using anything that might harm air, water or soil, including synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic food puts human health first, and supports farmers and businesses that do the same.”
Specifically, “Organic food puts human health first, and supports farmers and businesses that do the same.”
I know lots of farmers. Farmers who raise corn and soybeans, pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle and more. Some of them are organic and some of them aren’t. All of them put human health first because all of them are feeding their own families the products they raise.
Make no mistake, organic farming isn’t farming without chemicals. It’s farming with chemicals specifically approved for organic production. And those chemicals can be just as dangerous as chemicals used in conventionally-raised crops. The key to raising food safe for human consumption isn’t necessarily organic or conventional, it’s the knowledge and care each individual farmers uses in raising that food.
A little farther down, I saw this:
A commitment to using only ingredients that are not genetically modified. We believe The Conscious Kitchen is the only 100% organic/non-GMO school food program in the country.
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have yet to be deemed safe for humans or the environment, yet they are ubiquitous in today’s food. In the United States, companies are not required to label items that contain GMOs.
*Indicates a no-exceptions rule”
Honestly, this statement is the one that really got to me and it got to me because it’s just plain wrong.
Google GMOs and it’s an argument you’ll see again and again, despite the fact that study after study has proven that isn’t the case. Every time, the “study” backing the proof that GMOs are dangerous comes from a non-peer-reviewed journal, was authored by someone close to anti-GMO organizations, or has been retracted.
In fact, more than 2,000 studies (real ones that have been done by independent researchers and published in peer-reviewed journals) have documented that biotechnology doesn’t pose a threat to human health and GMO foods are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods.
The most recent was published a year ago. This study, which takes into account animals fed GMO crops like many others, is based on 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of GMO crops.
I’ll give you two guesses as to what they found out, but you’ll only need one. GM feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. From Forbes writer Jon Entine who reviewed the study:
“The field data represented more than 100 billion animals covering a period before 1996 when animal feed was 100% non-GMO, and after its introduction when it jumped to 90% and more. The documentation included the records of animals examined pre and post mortem, as ill cattle cannot be approved for meat.
What did they find? That GM feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. There was no indication of any unusual trends in the health of animals since 1996 when GMO crops were first harvested. Considering the size of the dataset, it can reasonably be said that the debate over the impact of GE feed on animal health is closed: there is zero extraordinary impact.”
As for the rest of the Eco Child’s Play article’s assertion that, because of these foods, disciplinary actions are down, I can’t comment because, well, I’m not a scientist. Personally, I don’t think it’s because they’re feeding the kids organic, non-GMO foods. I think it’s because they’re feeding kids fresh foods, prepared in house, and bringing students and teachers together in an atmosphere that is conducive to communication and cooperation.
After all, that’s what food, of any kind, has a tendency to do; bring us to the table to talk and enjoy each other’s company.