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Monday, February 24, 2014

Transparency: Moms Fighting GMOs

The consumer uprising over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply has been
gaining momentum for years, particularly among moms.  We have moved well past the awareness-raising stage into a time when non-GMO certified has become a commonplace standard for those in the natural products industry.  Moms are becoming well-versed in the dangers of GMOs and on the health and environmental impacts of GMO products in our food supply.  Labeling has reached a tipping point for those who wish to market to holistic-minded moms and non-GMO certification is vital for competitive marketing.

But labeling alone does not overcome the bigger challenge that food manufacturers have to contend with.  What runs deeper and wider is a remarkable distrust that moms have in food producers and manufacturers: a distrust that no labeling or certification will easily resolve.   Trust, by definition, is the "firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something."  Moms no longer have trust in our food supply.  From the exposed dangers of artificial preservatives and flavorings, to the growing awareness of BPA, trans fats, and even mercury in our foodstuffs, there is little - if anything - that is firm in the belief system of parents when it comes to food.  Brands have abused the public trust for far too long, slapping "natural" and "healthy" on products to entice busy, sleep-deprived parents into taking a chance on their products.  Moms are angry.  And the outrage continues to grow.

For GMOs, the concern puts parents over the edge.  At Holistic Moms, we see deep, widespread skepticism and distrust of food producers.  The movement is strong and compelling.  What parents want - what they are starting to demand - is transparency.  But it will take more than labeling to re-establish broken trust.  Parents want to know who they are buying from, what the company's values are, and where their true commitment lies to consumers.  And if that cannot be had, we are returning to our kitchens to prepare food from scratch.

Is that a bad thing?  Of course not.  We have long advocated for real food here at the Holistic Moms Network.  Modern technology makes the spread of the real food movement even easier: recipes, how-to videos, and foodie websites cultivate our love for and obsession with food.  On the flip side, social media makes the demand for transparency even stronger - and more powerful.  Food recalls, "pink slime" concerns, and the non-GMO movement have all gained traction because of social media.  GMO labeling is a concession the food industry will have to make, sooner rather than later.  But it will be the first step, not the concluding action.  Cultivating transparency will be the giant leap.  And moms will continue to fight for it.  Big Food, be warned.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Distrust in the food system and a movement (back) toward real food is a huge theme with most moms I know. Even with greater transparency from the food manufacturers about what is going into food and what the company values, I think that real food holds a strong appeal on its own ground. It tastes better, it's often more nutritious, and there's nothing experimental about it.

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