Ask anyone whether they’d like a genetically modified fruit or vegetable to be included in their dinner and you’re likely get an earful of talking points about how GMOs are unhealthy, cause cancer, and will likely suck all of us into a black hole. Then, if the person you’re speaking to — why did you even ask about GMOs in this hypothetical scenario? This is on you! — is especially passionate, they’ll pull out their cellphone to show you pictures of genetically altered white strawberries and square watermelons before demanding to know whether you care at all about what you put in your body.
The intentions are good, but there’s one thing everyone needs to know: GMOs will not end the world and some of those examples people use to prove that modifying an organism’s genetic code is very bad aren’t actually examples of GMOs at all.
In the wake of Vermont becoming the first state to require that genetically altered foods be marked as such, and right before a vote that could expand that requirement all throughout the nation, the New York Times took some time to dispel the fears that the general public has about GMOs. Of course, this might not convince the hardcore believers among us (there are some people who will never believe that square watermelons are, as the Times points out, grown in boxes as opposed to being engineered in labs), but if you’re on the fence about GMOs the piece might have some important information for you.
Perhaps we should be more concerned about the fact that people are torturing watermelons by trapping them in metal boxes than genetic modification?