IN THE NEWS debating GMOs
ithin the foodservice industry, there may be no more contentious topic
right now than GMOs—genetically modified organisms—in the food supply. In one
camp are the ardent supporters, people who believe that GMO-treated plants can
help solve the world’s hunger problems by increasing crop yields while using less land.
On the other side are equally passionate activists who claim that the widespread use of GMOs
would be disastrous for people and the planet. They discount the reams of data that many scientists
say prove GMOs are safe for human and animal consumption, arguing that GMOs haven’t been
used commercially long enough for science to know the potential long-term risks. They also fear
that altering plants to resist pests and herbicides could have negative consequences down the road.
Chefs are stuck in the middle of this debate. Personally, many of them oppose the use of GMO
ingredients in food, or at least are on the fence. However, they often find their hands tied, either by
the marketplace or by corporate policies that prevent them from choosing non-GMO products and
ingredients. Some chefs contacted for this article declined to comment, citing employers’ concerns
or conflicts of interest.
But there are plenty of chefs who are willing to speak their minds, for a number of reasons.
Some, definitely, are concerned with potential health risks of consuming GMO-laden foods,
even though the Food and Drug Administration has approved their use and many scientists argue
that they are safe.
for the health of it
Joanne Weir, owner of Copita, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Sausalito, California, and the
author of Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food (Oxmoor House,
2015), says she is adamantly opposed. “I believe that most of our health issues stem from GMOs.
Maybe it’s because of my own health concerns, but there are so many things we don’t know yet.”
Will genetically modified organisms solve
worldwide hunger? Or will they harm
people and the planet? by Paul KiNG