We're Different– Together.

GMO, Magical Faeries, and the Failure of Prop 37

GMO’s don’t get me worked up, but Allison’s post on Prop 37 busted up any lingering resistance I had to the required labeling of these unnatural life forms. I’m surprised it didn’t pass. Here’s two cents worth on the topic:

Food Label Insanity and a Faerie Tale Ending

The word “natural” as it pertains to food is now a ridiculous cliche, pretty much stripped of any lingering shred of meaning. SO MUCH garbage food gets the “natural” stamp, and people are sometimes misled into believing this food is better for them. Prop 37 would have prevented GMO’s from carrying this label, somewhat silencing this natural nonsense.

If I was a magic faerie I would change the word “natural” to “good” on every label. This food is “all good.” Made with “good” ingredients. “100% Good!”

Means pretty much the same thing, which is “Please buy this product.”

Incidentally, if was a magic faerie, I would also fit in perfectly at The Color Run.

Beyond the Label

It’s about the labels. I’m seriously hung up on the labels. I have an idea to take a camera into the store and do random label scavenger hunts. Grab 10 items, and you get a point for every item with some variation of the word “natural.” I tried this the other day, and found natural water, natural ice, natural nuts, and natural popcorn before Allison got too embarrassed and made me stop.

In her excellent post, Allison wrote:

To claim that consumers will stop buying GMO products if they are suddenly made aware it is in fact a GMO product, betrays manufacturer’s confidence in the consumer’s ability to make decisions for themselves.

I actually think it is 100% true that manufacturers lack confidence in consumer’s ability to make decisions for themselves. That’s why labels like “natural” are so prevalent, and in my opinion, so successfully misleading. Labels are an excuse to temporarily suspend your better judgment, and they often cloud the truth.

“All natural? Must be good for me.”

It is important for us to know where our food comes from, but we still have the tough task of figuring out whether any food–“natural,” “GMO,” or whatever–is inherently good or bad for you. Just because something is all-natural and non-GMO doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

The effort of food companies to defeat Prop 37 demonstrates the extent that they believe consumers are affected by labels. I say we demand to know where our food comes from, and we also go beyond labels to find out if the food we eat is worth its salt.

Thanks again to Allison for doing such an awesome job on her GMO post. So many great points, especially the one about changing labels during the holiday season.

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