Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 20: To Label or Not to Label - That is the Question

Note: I started writing this Tuesday, and just got around to finishing it.  I'm trying to catch up on the last four days here in some down time.

It's Tuesday, which means it's time for another "#AgChat" night on Twitter, and another #FoodID night with US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in cooperation with Iowa Corn.  These events are very unique in that there is a uniquely mixed panel discussing current issues in agriculture. 

It's 8:30 and the speakers are early on in their discussions, and decided my topic for the day.  Everyone wants to know what's in their food right?  What does labeling do to your opinion?  When we discuss labeling, I want to begin with meat labeling.  As you walk through the meat department, if you see "Hormone Free," are you more willing to buy that meat, over what is not labeled mentioning whether it contains hormones or not?  Do you want the truth?  The cold hard truth?  Animals have hormones naturally, and if you are, in fact, eating real meat, there are natural hormones in them.  This is comparable to my experience with eating "vegetarian chicken nuggets."  Let me tell you, it did not contain chicken.  Labels can be deceiving and used to scare you, or in another sense, convince you that something is better for you because it contains certain words that are trick words that appear "better."

I will tell you from the beginning that I am biased on the side of not labeling GMO crops.  I'm sure I just set someone's blood to boil, but we're all entitled to feel however we want.  Until there is defined proof that shows that Organic is the solution to feeding the world, we must realize that genetically modified crops are increasing yields consistently over those of organic crops.  I want to also mention that organic crops fall under much gray area in the regulatory sector.  We must really consider where the truth exists.  I am a firm believer that the sole goal of labeling is to insert fear into the consumers.  In order to continue feeding our world, what is most important is to prove to consumers that what they are eating is safe, affordable, and nutritious.  I heard an organic producer once say that, "Maybe we should focus less on the affordability, and let them have more organic and those types of food."  It is more important in my mind to continue improving conventional methods than to say, "Let's all pay a good bit more, and we can eat organic."  The unfortunate truth is that most people cannot afford to eat organic food.  In America, we pay one of the lowest amounts per capita on food, but we are all sunk in debt and/or have built enough other expenses to consume the rest of our budgets.  I also don't feel that organic can provide enough food to feed the world on its own, even if we tried. 

In the words of Miranda Lambert, I believe, "It takes all kinds of kinds."  As we forge the way into the future, it will take a continued variety of foods to feed this growing world.  It will not all be organic or conventional, or however else you try to raise crops, but it will be a variety, and we must accept this.  We have a variety in order to satisfy the needs and wants of an ever changing population.

Linking up with Holly here.

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