Mark Bittman, the highly regarded food writer and chef has brought things to a boil with a column about GMO labeling without any real science backing him up. Writing in the New York Times op-ed section, his column says “GMO’s Let’s Label ‘Em.”
In the context of California upcoming ballot initiative requiring labeling of foods with GMO content, he argues that such foods should be labeled
- Because 65% of Californians are in favor of labeling, and that
- Nationwide, 91% of voters are in favor of such labeling.
Of course over 50% of US citizens have been conned into doubting that man-made climate change is actually occurring, so that doesn’t argue well for using such opinions to form public policy.
- California has a history of making changes that end up influencing national policy.
Of course, some of those have been pretty bad laws, too, such as Proposition 13 and the gay marriage ban.
And finally, Bittman argues that
G.M.O.’s, to date, have neither become a panacea — far from it — nor created Frankenfoods, though by most estimates the evidence is far more damning than it is supportive.
Of course, in the print version of his article the above hyperlink does not appear, but the online column links to an organic food advocacy organization called The Organic Authority, a group of no particular scientific credibility, who also has deeply thoughtful articles such as “Is the Cure for Cancer Being Suppressed?” He provides no links to any papers indicating such damning evidence because there aren’t any!
His whole argument seems to be that even though GMO crops are pervasive in the US, and that some one trillion meals have been served with GM ingredients without problems of any kind, he wants these foods labeled.
There is nothing keeping manufacturers from labeling foods now if they want to. You can be sure that they would if they thought it would give them a business advantage. But as Tim Worstall points out in Forbes, Bittman is really arguing for banning GM foods, figuring that if they were labeled no one would buy them.
Bittman flogged this same dead horse in another column last year saying if you want to avoid MSG, aspartame you can just read the label (but not GM foods). Of course this is a weird analogy, since MSG occurs naturally in many foods and is utterly harmless. And likewise, aspartame has not been found to cause any harm in foods either.
He even brings up the thoroughly discredited idea that Indian farmer suicides were somehow related to GM crops. This is simply untrue.
Finally, he brings up the canard that our regulators are putting untested foods on the market. In fact, any new GM crop undergoes 5-10 years of testing before being introduced.
So, to conclude, Bittman isn’t convincing and by making these odd comments is curdling his sauce!