Ah, social media.
Where people have so much to say, and so little understanding.
Social media is the not-so-new wave of information sharing, where it seems everyone is an expert and their information source is about as reliable and consistent as weather in Ohio throughout the month of March.
Social media is exciting and terrifying all at the same time, a lot like the first time you go to Disney World. You often find yourself sorting through the fodder, wondering what is real? What is created based off imagination? Why is everyone trying to look like a duck?
Wait. Before I go any further:
Have you liked Harvest Land Co-op’s Facebook page yet? If not, what are you waiting on?
I saw a Facebook post the other day that made me shake my head and pray for patience. It came from a person who appears to be an avid health and fitness junkie and as well as a personal promoter of organic foods. They regularly and proudly post photos of the meals they prepare for their family (a lot of forage) and videos of their workouts (no square bales of hay were involved).
On this particular day they were outraged to learn that baby carrots, the small, manageable carrots that have replaced washing/peeling/slicing of years gone by, were a product of genetic modification.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Poison in the lunch box for years!
With this groundbreaking (incorrect) discovery, the mother wrote about her plans to no longer serve her three children (ages 8 – 19 years) these toxic tiny roots. Yes, complete restriction of baby carrots was in order. She shared her sudden findings with hundreds of immediately outraged friends.
You can imagine what was going through my head after reading this; probably much of what is going through yours right now. This is a perfect example of how poorly informed consumers are when it comes to GMOs and how terrified they are of something they know so little about.
Had the gal done her research, she probably would have found three things:
- Baby carrots aren’t a GMO product. Corn, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton and sugar beets are the only GMO foods.
- Baby carrots are actually a product of conservation management and creative thinking. In 1986 Mike Yurosek began using a green bean cutter to cut misfit carrots into two-inch pieces and then peeled them with an industrial potato peeler to create the perfect sized carrot. This eliminated waste by utilizing misshaped or small carrots that would usually be tossed.
- Their perfect cut and shape are a product of work done post-harvest.
This family, along with millions of others, have been consuming these carrots – modified to serve a consumer base that doesn’t have time to wash/peel/slice carrots for the Super Bowl party – for years without concern. No one has fallen ill from these carrots. Ever. They’re a perfectly healthy addition to any diet. That has been proven by decades of kids rolling their eyes as they open their lunch box to find a bag of baby carrots awaiting them. What harms the American public is lack of understanding.
When I was little, the only way my parents could calm my fear of things that crept around our (these were the days when kids shared bedrooms with siblings) bedroom in the dark was to turn on the lights. They had to bring light to the area and prove that my fear was not warranted. We have to continue to do this today with consumers. Every day, at every opportunity.
So what can we learn from baby carrots?
- Even after performing their own self-deployed study (feeding baby carrots to their family and self for years), consumers can still choose fear over fact.
- Ignorance is often louder than reason, especially if they have a Facebook page.
- Our journey of informing the public about GMO foods is far from over.
Join Harvest Land in continuing to
fight the good and worthy fight
regarding safe food production,
one baby carrot at a time.