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Is It OK to Lie?

April 29, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost people would say no it’s not ok to lie. Others say it depends. Others say yes it is – we have to in order to get what we want.

So does that make it right? We have non GMO, mostly heirloom options but folks don’t want to talk about that! They want to talk about GMO. Or, more specific, about hating GMO. And anyone who doesn’t agree completely is then supporting GMO. Farmers are stupid for believing the corporations. Some are addressing that in blogs.

Here’s the thing: we’ve done the research. We’ve spent hours and days and months of our lives over the past 17 years learning about genetically modified seed. We’ve studied plots. We’ve read university data. We’ve talked to more seed reps than you can shake a stick at. We have a lot of options. So many that it takes a spreadsheet to keep them straight, and then to plot out where we’re going to plant what.

There are people asking about livestock being GMO. There isn’t a great deal of actual research posted, and it’s not commercially available…but yet is presented as fact. Isn’t this lying? Dishonest? Stretching the truth? Marketing? Where does it stop?

We agree with much of what Joel Salatin does at Polyface farm. He’s found what works for him, and it works for many others as well. Like them, we celebrate traditional ways with technology where it makes sense for us. It’s things like this that raise flags:

“We now have tomatoes that are part potato, part pig and part human.This whole genetic confusion creates big problems.”

“You don’t have to read far into the literature to realize that allergists are prophesying unprecedented allergy problems with genetic modification. A person who was allergic to tomatoes could eat peppers. And a person allergic to peppers could eat tomatoes. But now, with GMOs, people allergic to either of these cannot eat the others because tomatoes have pepper DNA and peppers have tomato DNA. That’s one reason incidents of food allergies are exploding.”

This is a direct quote from Joel Salatin in The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer. There’s quite a bit gleaned from these pages that is of use, and I’ll be doing some other posts on, but this one is just not true.

Now I’m not a genetic scientist. I’ll admit I don’t work in the research field, nor do we plant GMO crops. But here’s the thing – does that make it ok to lie? Does it make it ok to say or support such statements because our peppers are heirloom? I think not.

I did a search for animal-tomato genes and found little. I found some testing – but not one incident where it’s actually commercially available, much less in enough amounts to cause major health problems. I found research for food safety. I found an article from the late 1990s and a post from Monsanto themselves.

there are no commercial biotech products owned or produced by Monsanto that have animal DNA.

What to believe then? I can’t exactly ask Mr. Salatin himself, but as to the pepper-tomato genes that, too, appears false. The NonGMO Project says:

Very few fresh fruits and vegetables for sale in the U.S. are genetically modified. Novel products such as seedless watermelons are NOT genetically modified. Small amounts of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and sweet corn may be GM. The only commercialized GM fruit is papaya from Hawaii – about half of Hawaii’s papayas are GM.

So what passes the sniff test? What do we believe? Many things point to the statement in the book is not accurate. If there’s more discussion, I’ll certainly entertain it – but will underscore discussion does not include namecalling and insults.

We all have food choices and many don’t care about GMO as much as food safety.  We believe all should have access to food choices and accurate information. Even ‘leaders’ in one area are sometimes inaccurate in others.

We strive for accuracy, preferring to allow for what we see, our experience and let others decide for themselves if it works for them or not.

We hope our readers – and new ones! – use the information to examine their own views. Food choices are for everyone.

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