Just in case you were looking for a new way to practice pagan idolatry, the state of Vermont has passed a law that will permit you to eliminate genetically modified foods from your diet.
Beginning in 2016 a new labeling law will force food producers to designate any foods that have been genetically modified.
The Economist reports:
Vermont … takes its food very seriously, says Andrea Stander of Rural Vermont, a group that advocates a “local food system which is self-reliant and based on reverence for the earth”. Per capita, Vermont has more organic farms than any other state. Montpelier is America’s only McDonald’s-free state capital.
It’s not about the science. Then again, is it ever about the science? Beyond the fact that they offend the religious beliefs of radical environmentalists, genetically modified foods are perfectly safe, even nutritious:
Repeated studies have found no threat to human health from GM ingredients, which are found in up to four-fifths of processed food in American shops; nor have any ill effects appeared during the 20 years in which Americans have been eating the stuff. Indeed, ever since the genetically engineered Flavr Savr tomato reached supermarket shelves in 1994 Americans have taken a more relaxed approach to the technology than much of the rest of the world.
As it happens, most Americans favor “compulsory labeling.” Not so much because of the hysterical claims of the environmentalists, but because they like the idea of consumer choice.
And yet, if foods are labeled, The Economist continues, Americans might conclude that there is something wrong with GM foods:
Yet if the government requires labels, consumers may assume that this is an official health warning, even if it isn’t. Europeans shunned GM food after labels were introduced, and many European supermarkets declare themselves (not entirely accurately) GM-free. The same could happen in America. “The activists did a great job of scaring people about their food sources,” sighs Norm McAllister, a farmer (and Republican state senator) who grows GM corn in Vermont.
Nothing quite like a little mass hysteria over a non-issue.
By framing the issue in terms of the purity of what people put into their bodies, activists in industrial countries are threatening an industry that feeds the world’s people.
The Economist explains:
Genetic modification is one of the most promising tools for feeding a global population that will one day hit 9 or 10 billion. Yet its development depends partly on consumers in rich countries, since the 842m malnourished people don’t have much spare cash. As with other technologies, the techniques honed in rich countries tend eventually to spread to poor ones. But if greens scare Americans into rejecting GM food entirely, that benign process may be interrupted.
Aside from the fact that different rules in different states would disrupt the food chain, it is worth mentioning and underscoring a point that The Economist makes with a chart:
In truth, this will lead the world’s people down the path to malnutrition and starvation. Try digesting that.
The Economist concludes:
Food scares are easy to start but hard to stop. GM opponents, like climate-change deniers, are deaf to evidence. And the world’s hungry people can’t vote in Vermont.