Just yesterday, I saw alarming information on GMO Free USA’s Facebook page. Emblazoned in all caps on an image of happy kids I read, “MINNESOTA SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE WORKING TO REMOVE GMOs IN AN EFFORT TO ‘SUPPORT KIDS’ LONG TERM HEALTH.’” There is so much wrong with this message that I could barely believe my eyes. My brain was under assault, my stomach turned, and my heart sank.
In my frustration, I created this more accurate version of the propaganda and posted it to my public Facebook page:
One of my followers brought up a good point about GMO Free USA. It’s hard to rely on the accuracy of this group’s statements. Are these school districts truly phasing out GMO ingredients in school meals, or is this false or exaggerated information like the rhetoric GMO Free USA usually proliferates?
This prompted me to do a bit of digging. Sadly, it appears that the information is truthful. Five Minnesota school districts have decided to phase out genetically engineered ingredients, expressing their non-GMO preference to vendors.
Furthermore, the Minneapolis school district recently held a “GMO Awareness Day.” The district’s website states,
“As a school nutrition department we believe that healthy eating begins with awareness, so we are happy that our district is joining others to raise awareness about GMOs.”
This is nothing short of tragic. Most American parents rely on public schools to impart critical-thinking skills. Yet here is a group of five major school districts making claims that GMO foods are unhealthy when scientific consensus shows otherwise. Here is a group of people that we trust to educate children to be scientifically savvy. Instead, they have succumbed to unsubstantiated fear mongering and will be passing this disinformation to thousands of kids. This is a gross misuse of taxpayer money to not only subsidize arbitrarily over-priced meals, but to help fund the scientific illiteracy of a generation.
Here is a call to action for Minnesota parents: If your child attends school in the Hopkins, Minneapolis, Orono, Shakopee, or Westonka districts, please contact the school board. Make it known that while processed foods and excessive sugar are never advisable, GMO foods are inherently as safe and nutritious as their non-GMO counterparts. Explain that healthy vs. GMO is a false dichotomy. Request that this non evidence-based initiative be abandoned. Rather than focus on eliminating GMOs, encourage these schools to offer more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Science savvy parents and non-parents nationwide, here’s your call to action:
I’ve emailed and left voicemails for Bertrand Weber and Laura Metzger, both of whom are listed as media representatives from Minneapolis and Westonka schools. I would like to know their reasons for eliminating GMO ingredients in school meals. As of this posting, I am still waiting on a response. I welcome an open dialogue.