When Similac announced its decision to market GMO free formula last week, some science advocates were outraged. To me, it made perfect sense.
GMO free may be no better than ordinary formula, but that makes no difference to Similac. Their customers want a GMO free product. And just like Chipotle, Similac has answered the demand.
Monsanto, a company that is practically synonymous with GMOs, is now developing a line of “super veggies” that will meet the standards for organic produce. And that’s no surprise either. Why wouldn’t Monsanto want to capitalize on the growing demand for organic food?
I don’t support Monsanto anymore than I support Similac. It’s not that I’m convinced either of them is evil. I just don’t expect them to behave like anything other than a corporation.
I agree that marketing GMO free formula — as if “GMO free” were a health benefit — is absolutely absurd. But consider Similac’s customers. Parents who choose to formula feed already feel like they’re constantly apologizing for their choices. Why add the criticism that they’re feeding their baby “frankenfood”? That it’s utterly baseless makes no difference. The health benefits of breastfeeding (at least in first world countries) are relatively minor, but that’s done little to dissuade breastfeeding advocates from demonizing parents who formula feed.
I hate hypocrisy as much as the next science advocate. Chipotle shouldn’t be lauded for its decision to go “GMO free” while it continues to use cheese and sunflower oil. But we shouldn’t be surprised. And we shouldn’t cheerlead for a company just because their profit motives happen to align with our own interests. They’re not making the “right” choice. They’re just doing what corporations do — adapting to the marketplace.