Stephanie Strom gets it wrong (again) about GMOs

Stephanie Strom and the Times get it wrong (again) about “GMOs”

produceWriting in today’s New York Times, Stephanie Strom’s headline is a sure indication that she doesn’t understand the issue. Titled “G.M.O.s in Food? Vermonters Will Know.” Maybe, but Strom doesn’t. There aren’t any “GMOs” in food. It is a breeding process for creating new crop varieties. “GMOs” are not an ingredient.

Strom discusses Vermont’s ill-conceived labeling law, that requires foods containing genetically modified ingredients to indicate that fact on the label. Most companies have opted for the generic “may contain ingredients produced using biotechnology,” but quite a few have decided to just stop shipping to Vermont. In fact a story today on WCAX.com indicates that the local PriceChopper chain will lose about 3000 products because of this absurd law.

Why is it (and Strom) absurd? Because every major scientific organization worldwide has concluded that GM crops pose no more harm than conventional crops. Most recently, the National Academies of Science published a report again concluding the GMO crops pose no harm to human health. Nearly simultaneously, the Royal Society produced a handy Q&A report asserting that there is no evidence of harm from GMO crops.

So Strom’s article is (perhaps intentionally) incomplete, suggesting there is actually some real concern that GMO labeling addresses. There is not. The entire scare about GMO crops is the product of the organic food industry, notably the Organic Consumers Association and Just Label It, both funded by organic producers in order to scare consumers away from safe crops to more expensive ones.

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