My Twitter feed lit up this week with breathless news that actress Gwyneth Paltrow was speaking out against genetically modified foods (GMOs) and for a campaign to force food companies to label all food made with GMOs.
Sure, the actress in Iron Man and the Avengers added star power to the anti-GMO event in Washington. But on the facts, Paltrow was actually really pretty weak. Especially when she stated that “the science is still out on GMOs.”
Sorry Gwyneth, that’s just plain wrong. The science is in and it shows that foods made with GMOs are safe. Indeed, are the most researched and testedagricultural products in history. Leading scientific groups, such as American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have verified the safety of genetically modified crops. And billions of meals around the world have been consumed over the years without a single incident of a person getting sick from a GMO.
The labeling campaign Paltrow shills for—called Just Label It—is just as wrong on the facts. It seeks to force food companies to label foods made with GMOs, even though there is no nutritional difference in them, and endorses a state-by-state labeling which would cause a nightmare of confusion and raise food prices by $500 per family per year, according to a Cornell University study. (For stars like Paltrow, who make millions on each movie, an added $500 may not be a big deal. But it’s real money to the rest of us.)
What really has Paltrow and her pals riled up is a bill which just passed the House in a bipartisan vote and is making progress in the Senate. Called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,it would create a uniform, science-based standard overseen by the FDA and prevent a confusing and costly patchwork of state food labeling laws. It would also establish a new certification program similar to the highly successful USDA Certified Organic initiative. And it would provide those consumers, like Paltrow, who are seeking a GMO-free option a reliable, consistent and verified means of doing so.
It just makes a lot of sense, except maybe if you live in the unreal world of Hollywood.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is the News Services Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.
Photo by AP.