Its only 8:00 AM and I’ve already fought two battles today. The first I fought with extension cords, bales of straw, and more Carhartt than any person not employed by the company should decently wear at any one time. The second I’m fighting with a laptop, cell phone, and Instagram account. It is the battle of public opinion.
Some days you win. Some days you loose.
Modern agriculture recently lost a battle with General Mills, the company behind the one and only, Cheerios. On January 2nd the company announced we will be seeing new cereal boxes in our grocery story aisles stating that the original Cheerios are now GMO free. This frustrates me on several levels.
First because, as General Mills points out, there are no GMO oats. The switch involves a small amount of corn starch used in the cooking process and the gram per serving of sugar. Its a relatively small change on their part that will generate a massive amount of negative opinion on ours. Definitely frustrating.
Secondly, General Mills themselves states over and over that GMOs are safe. They link to factsaboutgmos.org, The World Health Organization, The European Food Safety Authority, and the USDA. But they won’t stand behind this science they apparently believe in.
Third, this Q&A statement from Cheerios mentions “investments” in the new process– places to store the corn starch and sugar etc., and I can’ help but infer that General Mills didn’t do any of this out of the goodness of their hearts, but rather to make a profit. This leads me to believe that I, as the consumer, will be paying for the “investment” each time I load up my cart at Sam’s Club. Perhaps my family budget can afford this, but surely you will allow me to stretch my imagination and guess that others cannot.
And this is, perhaps, my greatest frustration. This is such a first world problem.
Only people will full stomachs can be picky about what they put into them.
Mind you, I’m grateful I can be this choosy myself. I want my kids to have good nutrition, safe food, even adventurous diets. But what about the mom who just wants her kid to have enough to eat. Or the mom who wants her kid to have anything to eat. Because to me, that’s what GMOs are about. Once they’ve been proven safe, and I’ve done my research and feel they are (Read here and here), GMOs are the ONLY route I can see that leads to full stomachs for a population of some 9 billion people. Its safe. Its affordable. And its possible. The technology of our past won’t get us there.
So will I keep buying Cheerios? Dunno. But I may look around at some different brands and see what my family will eat, because today I feel that General Mills isn’t supporting me and my farm. They aren’t supporting ag’s efforts to feed the world. And somehow I think that could have been profitable for them too.
We lost this battle. The world can’t afford for us to loose the war.