Let's Quit This Food Snobbery Game

Prairie Gleanings

Let's stop focusing on GMO, organic or crate-free. The real problem is we're obsessed with fast food.

Published on: November 2, 2012

Next week, California will vote on Proposition 37. This would force food manufacturers to label foods according to whether or not they contain GMO products.

At the same time, I’m working on a series of articles that looks at organic agriculture in Illinois. Last week, Target announced it will now accept only crate-free pork.

At every turn, consumers are becoming more concerned with their diet. Yet, I contend we’re still missing the forest for the trees. We’re getting hung up on terms like organic, GMO, rBST, locally-grown and crate-free. In the meantime, there’s a line snaked around the parking lot at the local McDonald’s.

Who cares if McDonald’s is serving crate-free pork? When the “chef” tosses that piece of sausage on an egg, tops it with cheese and covers it with a flap-jack infused with syrup, he or she just created something with 560 calories, 290 of which are from fat. Toss in a hash brown (150 calories) and a medium Coke (210 calories) and you’re up to 920 calories. For breakfast! (All numbers were taken from McDonald’s website.)

I visited Dave Bishop, an organic farmer from Atlanta, Ill., this past week. He contends that folks should have a relationship with their farmer, just like they do with their health care provider. Food has a big impact on your health.

While the first statement is a bit much for me (I don’t care who grew my asparagus.), I completely agree with the second. That said, I’m not going to pay a premium for organic products.

There appears to be two opposite groups of consumers these days. There are those who care so much about their health, they easily fall victim to the latest “all-natural” marketing blitz. On the other side, there are those who care so little that fast food more than five times a week is an acceptable practice.

America is a nation built on compromise. We need to start aiming for the middle on these issues. The one group needs to get off the fast-food train and make their way back to the kitchen. I still remember the late Maralee Johnson lamenting that consumers don’t know what to do with a cut of beef anymore.

The other side needs to recognize that we can eat healthier as a nation without consuming only organic or non-GMO foods. This sort of narrow-mindedness irritates me. A sirloin is a lean cut of beef. It doesn’t matter if it was grass-fed, raised on organic corn or given a conventional feed diet. It’s a healthy cut. Let’s quit with the food snobbery.

Lastly, I can respect the folks who make a commitment to buying locally-grown, organic, non-GMO, etc. food. Those who do this for their health and are committed – good for you. I do not respect the hypocrites. There are those out there who are paying these food trends lip service. They talk a big organic game, and then eat at chain restaurants five days a week. If you’re going to talk the talk, walk the walk. Otherwise, keep your mouth closed.

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  1. Brian says:

    Not at all surprised that there's a Syngenta ad on this post. Organic, non-gmo, cage/crate free, grass-fed, Rbst free do matter to a lot of people so I think your article is actually the one that's narrow-minded. Plus, locally-grown isn't all about health. It's about supporting your local economy, making sure small farmers and producers can make a living and lessening the impact that trucking in tomatoes from Florida makes. But also... and call me a snob if you want to... but organic, local tomatoes just TASTE so much better. So do eggs from pastured chickens. I could go on and on.

  2. JR says:

    You make some good points, but you also ignore science. It DOES matter if that beef was raised on grass or in a corn-fed feedlot. The fat profile of grass fed beef is high in omega-3s, heart healthy fat. Corn and soy fed beef is high in omega-6s, damaging to arteries and heart. You may not care about that, but we readers do. It also matters that feedlot cattle need to be pumped full of anitbiotica to keep them from getting sick. Grass fed beef needs no anti-biotics. Pasture is healthier for beef, and healthie for us. JR