No genetically modified Vampire in this pack

Your grandparents never ate apples like this!
Your grandparents never ate apples like this!

Ever wonder why those huge red apples look so juicy and yummy but have no flavor? Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij has given it some thought.

“In America, you notice that the apples are bigger, but they don’t taste quite as much like apples. They have less of that inherent apple quality, whereas in Europe, the apples are smaller but they do taste better,” he tells Metro.

“One thing from traveling that I’ve thought about is genetically modified foods. It’s interesting for me to be in a place — like France for example — where they don’t allow anything genetically modified, things like apples, … apricots or peaches or nectarines,” he muses.

For him, there seems no question on choosing non-GMOs and buying local: “I grew up in a city, but my parents have always tried to support local farmers, and we’ve always gone to the farmers market every Sunday in D.C. I still go back there. The experience of buying food from farmers and it not always looking picture-perfect, but it tasting more real, that experience is something I think about a lot. I don’t know what will happen in the future. I can imagine things turning towards more organic food. But, I also think some of the damage is irreparable. … I do worry about that.”

Focaccia, whole-wheat, whatever: The bread you eat just isn’t the same bread your grandparents ate. Unless it’s organically grown, wheat is genetically engineered for high yield and high profit. And, guess what, today’s wheat is higher in gluten.

We’re all chomping down GE ingredients, also known as GMOs — genetically modified organisms — without knowing, because, in America, labeling isn’t required. The food industry at large claims changing labels will push up food prices.

Not so, says the Just Label It campaign, which is lobbying Washington, D.C., to introduce required labeling of all GMO foods. Just Label It held a press conference yesterday for food marketing expert Kai Robertson’s new report, “Why Label Changes Don’t Affect Food Prices.”

“Sixty-four countries believe consumers have the right to know, including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia,” said Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It. “But in the land of the free, we do not have the same right. This report shows there is no evidence that label changes influence the cost of production.”

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield said his company supports required labeling.

“Consumers have a fundamental right to know,” he said. “As a food company, we regularly make changes to packaging, anything from a 15 to 25 percent redo to a full redesign. It’s a normal part of a business and the effect on price is negligible. The cost of milk affects our price, not adding five words to the packaging.”


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