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Commentary: Living the Misinformed Life


We are living in the information age. In fact it is impossible today to get away from information. From social media meams, to news sound bites, to advertising slogans, we are drowning in information. If by some chance there is a bit of information you want to know, there are artificial intelligence creations on your phone, computer, or television who will find out the fact you want if you just simply ask. The term Google it, has become part of the English language. Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. So with all this information at our disposel why are people still so uninformed on key issues relateing to the food they eat.

A study by Florida State University shows consumers believe that the term “organic” and “non-GMO” are the same. The researchers concluded from their data that, “Consumers do not distinguish definitions of the two food labels.” In other words consumers have definite opinions about organic and GM food products but they have not taken the few seconds necessary to understand the difference or what each means in regard to the health, safety, and nutrition of the food they are about to buy and consume.

This level of misinformation is not limited to those of us who wonder the aisles of food stores reading labels. It also applies to top government officials who are in charge of regulating the food supply. U.S. undersecretary of trade, Ted McKinney spent last week in India, trying to promote U.S. farm exports. This included ethanol. India uses ethanol but has refused to import DDGs, a biproduct of ethanol production that is used to feed livestock. When McKinney inquired about why they did not import DDGs, he was told because DDGs were GMO products. He then had to explain to Indian officials that DDGs were not GMO products. Since they are a biproduct of corn used to make ethanol, the grain is denatured in the process and any GM material are eliminated.

Similarly, basic nutrition facts about common everyday food products like milk, meat, sugar, salt, and gluten, are available in a few Nano seconds on your phone. Yet many food purchases and biases are based on misinformation or no information. If you want to eat organic, that’s fine but make it an informed choice and know what the term organic really means about the food you are purchasing.

Of course, our information distribution systems are good at disseminating false and misleading information as well as factual information. Distinguishing between truth and twaddle does take a little effort. Too often today, people are not willing to make the investment in time or mental effort to learn the truth.

With the amount of information available today about everything in our world and almost instant access to have to all of it, there is no excuse for making an uninformed decision or leading a misinformed life.

By Gary Truitt