What does a non-GMO label get you?

Gluten-free waffle breakfast at Silver Diner. Image by Teri Centner via Flickr.

I’m all for voluntary non-GMO labels. They’re a market based solution that meets a niche demand. They provide diversity in the market without raising prices for everyone. Still, I prefer to avoid them (and thankfully in the US, I still have the choice to do so) in large part because I don’t think they’re accomplishing anything useful, especially considering that such products often cost more. That’s my personal choice, though I also don’t think these labels accomplish much for the companies that use them. I’ve got two examples that I recently noticed that don’t make sense to me – maybe

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Enjoy your food tonight, thank some farmers and scientists. Forget about the politics for a little while.

Michelle Obama: Don’t go on The Biggest Loser

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Dear Mrs. Michelle Obama, I am a dietetic intern with Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina writing on the subject of your reappearance on the popular reality show, The Biggest Loser. I understand the concern over adult and childhood obesity, and implementing effective strategies to combat it. However, The Biggest Loser is not an appropriate platform to do so. The Biggest Loser uses fat shaming techniques to compel the contestants to lose large amounts of weight. I have seen contestants yelled at, insulted, belittled, and told by their trainer to exercise to the point of physical pain and emesis. This

Forego a hamburger, feed a person

Steaks by Robert Burns of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service via Flickr.

I eat meat. More specifically, I eat feedlot beef from major supermarket chains and generally enjoy it. Nonetheless, the implications of a recent study have me questioning whether I will eat meat in the future. In their paper, Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare, Cassidy et al. present the case that we could feed an additional 4 billion people by growing food for people rather than for livestock. We could do this because feeding crops to livestock is inherently an inefficient way to feed people. In the U.S. (worst case country in this paper), only 1/3

Labeling. What is Kosher for a food community?

Is this Kosher? Image by Julie via Flickr.

Philosophical food restrictions were not something I grew up with. Well, there was the “Fish on Friday” thing, but I was never really able to understand why fish wasn’t a dead animal too. (I have a long history of aversion to dogma, which didn’t serve me well in Catholic school, as I would say things like that out loud. To nuns.) And my dad didn’t like fish so we actually just got a cheese pizza on Friday nights and that was the end of that. That said, I think it’s fine for people to develop philosophies, rituals, and rules about