Because of a tweet by Stonyfield this week, I was led to listen to Michael Pollan, an author and food activist, as he spoke on the subject of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). It was a very interesting interview, which ultimately left me ticked off at the food industry and our nation’s labeling policies, for reasons even more far reaching than GMOs.
While I listened to the interview, I was reminded of Saturday night’s dinner. We sat at a nearby restaurant visiting with my in-laws when it suddenly struck me that the French fries Aaron was eating were probably not made from organic potatoes. Were they even made from real potatoes? How many pesticides was my son ingesting right before my eyes? Would any of those pesticides be the ones determined to cause reproductive issues in men? Was I sentencing my child to a future life of “Why…?” by letting him eat food I wasn’t sure about? I admit that throughout the entire dinner I could think of little else. I now understand that my face betrayed my thoughts, because my after-dinner conversation kicked off with my husband asking, “Why were you so mad tonight???”
Geez, where do I start?
I guess I am ultimately aggravated at three things: 1) I now know there are dangerous things in our everyday foods; 2) harmful ingredients are used in foods and marketed as positive, even (dare I say) healthy, which further dupes the public; and 3) the regulating bodies in our country are quick and vague in disputing any “myths” (as they see negative claims), but not the least bit interested in disproving the claims with quality tests.
I admit that I’m clueless. I just don’t get the policy that forbids genuine investigation in the interest of doing what is right. I mean, we are a nation of technology if nothing else. We can test and retest and study and correlate ‘til the proverbial cows come home. We have the capability of learning damn near anything we want to learn. Is that the issue? Do we just not want to learn what might disappoint us, so we dispute with “that’s not a legitimate concern!”?? Tell me why it’s not legitimate, then. And don’t say it’s because we just haven’t done enough tests. I swear, it feels like the food industry is just sticking its thumbs in its ears and babbling, “We’re not listeninnnnnnnngggggg to youuuuuuu!” Lemme guess – They’re rubber and I’m glue?? Ugh.
Let’s say I’m at work and I complete a particular assignment and I hand it to my boss. And say she cites an error in my work. I don’t call “BS!” on her, for Pete’s sake! I go back to the data and I find either the cause of error or the fact which proves it is not errant. I fix it, or discuss it with her, and we move on. The end result is not that one of us is right and the other wrong. The end result is that we know the data we have at that point is accurate, and worthy of building on.
Anyway, the thing that got me going on this matter today is the title of the post: Mr. Pollan said at the end of the interview that the safest thing to do is buy organic, because in the midst of so many misleading labels on – and ingredients in – our food products, organic is “still a label you can count on.”
At least that’s something.