The Butterfly of Ignorance

I stopped buying hummus this summer and I really miss it. It is not that I don’t like or want hummus, I just refuse to buy any product with the Non-GMO “Butterfly of Ignorance” label on it and to my surprise all three brands available to me at my local market added the label.

Ironically, none of the ingredients in hummus have a GMO equivalent on the market, chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice. There are ten GMO crops available on the market right now, alfalfa, apples, canola, corn (field and sweet), cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets. None of these are in Hummus and in fact, most items for sale with the Non-GMO Project Butterfly Label have no GMO equivalent on the market.

Companies pay the Non GMO Project to verify that their food contains no crops that use ingredients derived from Genetic Engineering, then they pay for the privilege of displaying the Butterfly label on their packaging. The Non-GMO project promises that this label will drive higher sales and profits. According to their marketing, Annual sales of Non-GMO Project Verified products now exceed $26 billion. This dollar figure has increased dramatically in the past two years as food producers cave to the pressure. 50,000 Verified products for over 3,000 brands now carry this marketing label.

A recent study done by GMO Answers, a group dedicated GMO education, Showed that 69% of consumers are not confident they know what GMOs are, and less than a third of Americans (68%) say they are uncomfortable with the use of GMOs in their food products. So, the average consumer does not want GMOs but they do not know what GMO means.

According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, the GMO Safety debate is over. In an exhaustive study, they examined hundreds of Peer reviewed studies and interviewed experts on both sides of the argument and “found no substantiated evidence that foods from GE crops were less safe than foods from non-GE crops.”

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has concluded that by the year 2050, the earth’s population will reach 9.1 billion and food production will need to increase 70% in order to meet the demand all with less land each year to produce these crops. significant investment in the application of new technologies in agriculture is essential and GMO crops are one piece of the puzzle in meeting this new demand.

The future application of GMO technology can provide drought resistance, increased crop yields, pest resistance, crops that stay fresh longer, increased nutritional values etc. modifying a plants to meet different growing conditions or to yield better products and even though GMO crops have been in production for over 30 years, we have barely scratched the surface their potential.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about GMO crops causing health, environmental and commercial problems but the scientific evidence does not back up these claims. The well-fed people of the world are making far reaching decisions that will negatively affect the food supply of third world nations. Time will show us whether this anti-science non-GMO movement will continue or if the world will listen to reason. For now, I will need to learn how to make my own hummus.

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