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Are GMOs Natural?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorDecember 20, 2013 1:47 AM


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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) describes itself as America's "most effective environmental health research and advocacy organization." Like many green groups (and health-conscious foodies), EWG has an organic fetish. Michael Specter has a great chapter on this syndrome in his 2009 book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives. The organic fetish is particularly interesting in the context of the GMO debate. For example, here's EWG President Ken Cook today: 

FDA Should Reject Big Food's Efforts to Allow “Natural” Food to Contain GE ingredients | Environmental Working Group: — Ken Cook (@EWGPrez) December 19, 2013

The link takes you to an EWG press release, which warns that

the food industry wants FDA to allow foods that have been engineered at the genetic level to be called ‘natural.’

Hmm, can someone tell me which part of agriculture is 'natural'? Is the corn we eat today natural? Anyway, EWG is worried that consumers will be misled if the U.S. government allows genetically modified foods to be termed as natural:

This will only sow even more consumer confusion, leading shoppers to believe that products made with synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients are better for the environment even when they are not.

Yup, nothing like sowing confusion about a crop breeding process and the true facts about it. For some insight into the Environmental Working Group's news release, I turn to an iconic source.


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