People should be free to make food choices

Farm Forum

I was recently following an online conversation relating to genetically modified crops. It appears that one of the biggest voices against genetically modified organisms, sometimes referred to as GMOs, has come out with the realization that maybe the fear and information he’s been shouting across the world aren’t exactly the truth.

Actually, what he said was that he could no longer claim that science was on his side. He agreed that there has been no scientific evidence that genetic modification is any riskier to human life than any other naturally occurring changes in genetics.

It’s amazing to hear someone publicly admit that he might not have had the right information. But what does this mean?

Well, what it means is that all people should have the right to make decisions about their food choices. And that correct information should be available to those looking to educate themselves on where their food comes from, including science.

The video and excerpts from his speech made rounds like wildfire through my social media channels. And one comment stuck in my head. A lady said that with the epidemic of autoimmune disorders in the last decade or two, she wasn’t ready to believe that anything not “natural” was safe.

So I started to think about that – and think about it a lot. Do we have an “epidemic” of autoimmune disorders? I’m not so sure.

We are a society of instant fixes and needing a pill or a treatment or a medication that will take care of every ailment. Our ancestors didn’t have that luxury. If something they ate didn’t agree with them, they stayed away from that food or put up with the discomfort. Now we take something to feel better.

We keep pushing for answers until we have a diagnosis. That, in turn, leads to more disorders being discovered or at least receiving a name.

Is that a bad thing? Of course not. Without these advances, I have no doubt that we would more than likely be a family of five, instead of six. If it weren’t for pushing for more, we might never have stumbled upon the keys to our youngest son’s care.

Two decades ago, treatment options that allow him the opportunity to thrive weren’t available. Two decades ago, we would be left wondering why he couldn’t grow and would have struggled to find answers. It was hard enough with the technology we have. I can’t imagine fighting those same fights without the tools that were available to us.

No, I don’t believe that we have a new epidemic of illness. We just have a new desire for health and feeling our best.

Does that mean that we should embrace genetically modified foods and forget the rest? Of course not. It means that choices should be left to the one buying the food. Each person should be responsible for his or her own decisions. Without unwanted influences, including hype and fear mongering.

And I think we can all agree on that.

Val Wagner loves raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at