Monday, July 31, 2017

Eating Fake News

Who knows what's in this thing.
Since conventional wisdom says you are what you eat, I'm a big label-reader when buying foods, insisting on the purest of ingredients and ones I can pronounce. So I was somewhat surprised to see, as I sat munching on my lightly salted, gluten free, whole grain Quaker Oats rice cake containing only whole grain brown rice and salt, the words "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering."

WTF? Promptly spitting out the offending food, now turned to mush, because God forbid a million times someone had messed with it and I would somehow become genetically altered myself, or whatever it is people worry will happen to them if they eat GMO products, I immediately called the number on the package inviting questions and comments. I mean, who wouldn't?

After a recorded welcome and a brief interlude during which I heard about some other Quaker Foods I might like, a real live human said his name was Chris and that he wanted to help me in any way possible. I jumped in with my concern, and he explained that in their hurry to comply with a law passed in Vermont that required such labeling for some of the other products they make, it was just easier to use the same words on my rice cakes, even though they did not contain anything that had been genetically engineered.

"So you're saying it was easier to print misinformation on the package?"  I asked, wanting to be absolutely sure I had understood him.

"Yes, it was easier, you know, in their rush to comply. But next time they print new packages, they'll probably take that off. I mean, I'm guessing they will."

The 2014 Vermont law that required such labeling was quietly overturned by President Obama in August of 2016. It happened with little fanfare since by then Donald Trump was running for president and nothing else mattered. So because I don't even live in Vermont, and my particular rice cakes don't contain any of the soybeans, corn, canola oil or sugar beets they're talking about in that law that is no longer in effect anyway, I can only conclude that food labels are pointless and in some instances possibly more fake news.

Meaning you might be what you eat. But then again, you might not be.

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