Viewpoint: ‘Frankenfood’? Anti-GMO rhetoric more harmful than ever in a hungry, post-COVID world

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With trend culture emphasizing ‘earth-to-table’ recipes and organic ingredients, it’s no wonder that the perception of GMOs as a kind of unnatural ‘Frankenfood’ makes some consumers increasingly anxious.

The anti-GMO movement’s push towards labelling in the name of transparency actually further muddies the waters for consumers, mainly because the audience for these labels are often ill-informed.

“Non-GMO” is simply another marketing buzzword. The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food & Health Survey revealed that 40% of consumers viewed a product labeled “non-GMO” as healthier than a product with genetically engineered ingredients, despite having the same nutritional information.

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“Anti-GM advocates have successfully filled the ‘information void’” states Kathleen Harris in an article for CBC which summarized Health Canada’s report on consumer’s anxiety surrounding genetically engineered food. The lack of GMO literacy among Canadian consumers has allowed anti-GMO marketers to spread misinformation surrounding the safety of genetically-modified foods.

It’s time to set the story straight. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening food security, consumers need to feel confident about available food. Despite the consumer’s concern, the majority of scientists believe in the safety of GMOs, and the very real gains for farmers and consumers.

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