Fear Of The Unknown
Parents and children today may have no memory of the dreaded disease called polio, which struck both young and old by the score from the 1930s to the 1950s. School children and parents were as frightened of polio as they were of nuclear bomb attacks on the United States.
When the polio vaccine was finally discovered, people all over America were inoculated. Still, there were scores of people who did not trust doctors, did not like the use of needles – and some who even feared that the vaccine would give their child polio. Anti-vaccine propaganda and rumors were spread to the public.
Some of the unvaccinated number continued to contract the crippling and deadly disease. But occurrence of polio is almost, or totally, nonexistent in the United States today, thanks to the success of this cure — and the backing of the U.S. Government.
The point of this bit of history is to show the side of human nature that fears the unknown. Take GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms, for example.
Fear of commodities such as soybeans, wheat and corn grown from GMO seed, has sent shockwaves through Europe and brought increasing concern right to our front door, the place where the miraculous seed was developed.
Current public concern is the result of a wide-ranging, well-financed propaganda campaign of negatives – negatives intended to strike fear in the hearts of countless consumers "over there" and now, over here. Government agricultural agencies of various European countries, particularly Britain and France, have spread fear of GMO crops throughout the world for one reason in particular — money. GMO seemed a great way to build trade barriers to U.S. imports – and help European agriculture and agribusiness to sell more of their products at home and abroad.
European consumers continue to question the reliability of food safety and oversight provided by food ministry departments in various European countries. Their fear is based on real experiences that happened in the last decade.
Contaminated beef, originating in Britain and exported to other EU countries, resulted in human fatalities. Blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of government scientists and food safety experts. (Lack of trust continues today.)
In truth, people have been eating products made with GMO commodities for several years now – with no ill effects.
Years of testing went into the development of GMO seed, which allows farmers to use fewer pesticides and herbicides on crops, and so increase net income. For consumers who remain unsure about the safety of crop protection chemicals, eating GMO foods should actually be reassuring news about the safety of the U.S. food supply.
The list of endorsements and approval of GMO foods goes all the way up to the Commander in Chief, President Bill Clinton. The President recently proposed greater government oversight of GMO food production and manufacturing, in hopes of increasing consumer confidence in the safety of these foods.
NC Governor Jim Hunt, concerned that public opposition to GMO could affect farmers in this state, recently joined with governors representing a dozen other states. They vowed to quell the rumor brigade of untruths and help reassure the public of the benefits of these foods.
Before GMO seed ever reached the farmer, it had been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has carefully studied all scientific data related to Genetically Modified Organisms.
Interesting note — according to the American Farm Bureau, it has been learned that one of the most vocal opponents of GMO products, the French Government, has been growing GMO test plots of various crops all over the country! True agricultural scientists, whether American or French, apparently know a good thing when they see it.
The American public can receive no greater seal of approval than has already been given by the United States Government.
And, when competing nations learn how to grow and compete with GMO commodities, you will hear little more about the controversy. GMO-grown commodities will become the world standard for food-exporting countries – and public fear of this unknown will disappear, and turn to trust. .