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Reblogged:RCM Column: Why Halloween Is Much Scarier Than GMOs

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Image by Bannon Morrissy, via Unsplash, license.
National Non-GMO Month? What?

I know many people avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but I'd never heard of this. Although I am a bioscientist, I was unaware I had to avoid GMOs in the name of health, food security, and proper agriculture. According to its sponsor, the Non-GMO Project, all of October is a chance to "raise awareness about ... choosing non-genetically modified foods.”

Genetically-modified food has been around for decades, and has been served trillions of times. Ninety percent of our corn was GMO in 2014. Am I missing something?

It wasn't just my scientific curiosity that had been piqued: The laissez-faire capitalist in me wondered: Product labeling should be done by private entities, and not by the government. Is the Non-GMO project an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for genetically-modified food?

UL is a private organization which tests the safety of electrical appliances before allowing manufacturers to mark them with its label. Just as the manufacture of appliances is an example of division of labor, so is testing them. But UL has an established reputation, has been around longer than the Non-GMO Project, and appliances bearing its mark haven't been bursting into flames lately. How do we know the Non-GMO Project is -- or is not -- worthy of our trust?

...

To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets.

I would like to thank my wife and Steve D. for their comments on an earlier version of this piece.

-- CAV

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