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On GMOs, corn syrup, and public health

A protest against Monsanto in San Francisco.
A protest against Monsanto in San Francisco.
By Donna Cleveland (protesting monsanto in san francisco) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The all-natural food movement is getting more vocal lately, and for good reason. Man-made ingredients are replacing natural ingredients in almost everything available for purchase. It's getting to the point where the only way you can know for sure what you're eating is if you grow it yourself.

With the fight against Big Chemical companies heating up, there are also those coming to their defense. Unfortunately, those people are merely parroting what the corporate lobbyists want everyone to believe.

Things like, "there's no proof that GMO's or corn syrup are bad. There aren't enough studies to say this health problem is indisputably caused by that."

There is a MAJOR problem with this way of thinking.

First of all, modern science knows for a fact that things can kill you without instantly killing you. It can take a year of building up in your system, or it can take thirty years. It can be a direct cause of illness or death or it can indirectly deteriorate your health. Nobody disputes these possibilities.

The only defense of continuing to use these man-made "natural" ingredients is that the health problems linked to them are not conclusive enough to ban the ingredient. That is just plain intellectually dishonest.

When it comes to whether something is safe for human consumption or not the burden of proof SHOULD err on the side of safety. Not knowing for certain whether a possible cause of something is definite is not a reason to make it available.

Food items SHOULD be proven safe beyond a reasonable doubt BEFORE they become completely unavoidable. The corporate profits that would be hurt by this ARE NOT more important than public health and safety.

Government exists to protect public health and safety, not corporate profits. We need to do the RIGHT thing and err on the side of caution rather than erring on the side of investment growth.

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