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.
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
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
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 ~
Labels: agriculture, California, consumer information, consumers, country, education, feeding the world, food, food safety, genetically modified organism, GMO, obesity, policy, Prop 37, radio, science, technology