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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Importance of GMO's and Writing Letters to the Editor


Usually, I jam out to 106.9 Country Legends on the radio in my truck but in the mornings, on my way to work, I listen to the highly syndicated Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show. Every week or so they have a segment titled "Consumer Watch" and they talk about a few topics that consumers should be interested in - previous topics include cigarettes, a cell-phone in the car law etc. One morning the topic was GMO's (genetically modified organisms) -- this was around the time of Prop 37 in California -- and I developed a stomach ache listening to the false information they were saying. They were basically giving their opinions but not backing them up with any fact and it was so frustrating.

So I did what any active advocate would do and I wrote them a letter.  I have never heard back from them and if they addressed my concern during another Consumer Watch segment, I missed it. But here is my letter, because I believe that everyone should fully understand the capabilities that GMO provides us with in terms of food production and also the importance they play in the world's hunger problems.

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I have been listening to the Kidd Kraddick show for some time now and I am always laughing and truly enjoy the show. I donate to Kidd’s Kids and have signed up for Friends with Benefits – in short, I’m a big fan.

However, every time you guys have a consumer watch I get so frustrated with your analysis of anything to do with food that I have to change the station. The latest incident happened just this morning when you were discussing Prop 37 in California and how, if passed, all genetically modified food (GM) would need to be labeled. You are right, this would be a huge hindrance to food production companies, would increase every family’s grocery bill and would put negative connotation on most food products at the grocery store.

What you failed to do was provide actual facts regarding GMO food.  Genetically modified organisms revolutionized food production and agriculture in the 60’s and 70’s. Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contributions to the “green revolution” which had a tremendous impact on food production in underdeveloped countries in Asia and Latin America. The green revolution (and Mr. Borlaug’s work) was focused on the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains like wheat and aiding farmers in better management and use of technological advancements. Without the work of Mr. Borlaug and other scientists of the green revolution, over a billion people would have starved. 

Genetically modified doesn’t necessarily mean that the product was radiated or anything like that, it could be as simple as cross breeding or using a gene mutation in a strain of corn to make the plant more productive. For example, some variations of papayas have been genetically modified to resist the ringspot virus – this was done by developing a breed that is resistant to them. Hawaii, a big producer of papaya, almost had their industry devastated by the virus however, since the new genetics were discovered, their industry is successful. It’s important to point out that there is still no method of production other than the genetically engineered papayas that is resistant to the virus. Organic papayas (which are ridiculously expensive, like every other kind of organic food), are not resistant to the virus. Other GM foods are soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets and squash. GMO versions of tomatoes, potatoes and rice have been created and approved by the government but aren’t commercially available yet. 

Modifying plants allows farmers to be more productive which is essential with a population that is growing exponentially. If we don’t accept and employ technology like GMO’s, it’s going to be pretty dang impossible to feed 9 billion people in 2050.

Regarding obesity – I can’t believe that you guys just blamed the obesity epidemic on genetically modified food. Americans are overwhelmingly overweight because we have become increasingly lazy and restaurants have increased their portion sizes dramatically. The fast food industry is booming – it’s easier (and often, cheaper) to buy a meal off the dollar menu than it is to buy fresh food or whole grains. America is one of the few countries in the world where it is more expensive to buy fresh food than it is to buy processed food. Add into the mix that low-income families can buy more food if they buy Cheetos and Pepsi than they can if they buy juice and apples and you can see why so many Americans are overweight. 

Hundreds of thousands of folks listen to your show every day – you have the opportunity to set the record straight on controversial issues like this and hopefully you will be more responsible with the facts you are representing. It would be nice if as much research went into Consumer Watch and food issues as does the Showbiz Top 5.

Thank you for reading and please keep up the hilarious antics.
Respectfully,
Brandi

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So that's my letter. Again, I've never gotten a reply but hopefully they are aware of the influence they have and will take steps to make sure that future broadcasts are more fact filled rather than flashy and entertaining. Fear sells but isn't always the truth.

Have any of you ever written a similar letter to the editor? Did you get a reply? My only other experience has been this and it's been a rollercoaster ride since then.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

5 comments:

  1. GMOs can be such an interesting topic of discussion. It's always interesting to see how much people may or may not know about them. I'm glad you took the time to write in to the show, and I'm sorry to see you didn't hear anything back from them.

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  2. Fort Western - thank you for your comment! You too, Jeremy. It is frustrating to have them not reply or acknowledge it (that I know of) but at least now they are aware that they should try to be more responsible.

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  3. I think it is great that you spoke up.... There isn't always a response but at least you know you tried to do your part.

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  4. Thanks JP! I don't know if it resonated with anyone but at least I tried.

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