Filed Under: Food Scares

This Time, a Proper Welcome for the Biotech Tortilla

Remember the StarLink biotech corn scare? Back in October 2000 a handful of environmental activist groups (organized by an organic-food-fetishist religious cult connected to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) used a Maharishi-related genetic testing lab to find traces of genetically modified (GM) corn lurking in supermarket and fast-food taco shells even though it was “unapproved” for human consumption. Oh, the horror. Despite millions of dollars in lost productivity and pointless legal wrangling, no one ever demonstrated that GM corn posed a health risk to anyone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even tested the blood of 17 people who thought they might have experienced allergic reactions to what activists dubbed “Frankencorn.” No such luck. And later research demonstrated that there probably was no such thing as a StarLink allergy. In other words, the “unapproved” corn should have been approved in the first place.
Fast-forward eight years, and guess what? White corn millers, reports The Des Moines Register, are now happily mixing GM corn in with the conventional stuff for chips, taco shells, and tortillas:

Farmers in Iowa, Nebraska and other states started growing a small amount of genetically modified white corn this year after word came down from processors they would start accepting it.
“Our domestic millers have always been in favor of it,” said Todd Gerdes, specialty grains manager for Aurora Cooperative, which buys white corn at three of its locations in Nebraska. The corn is sold to domestic mills and for export. “What they’ve always wanted to do is to make sure that they didn’t accept (biotech versions) and drive away their customers.”
“They’ve come to a comfort level where they can convince their customers it’s OK.”

Let that be a lesson to you, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and your misnamed cousin, the Center for Food Safety. And you too, Organic Consumers Association. You just can’t keep good technology down, no matter how much scientifically hollow garbage you throw at it. Eventually consumers figure out when a food scare is just a food scare. (Usually right around the time eight years goes by and nobody gets so much as a case of the sniffles.)

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