To the editors, Maclean’s Magazine
Re: “What You’ll Be Eating Soon” (April 30)
I found What You’ll Be Eating Soon to be unappetizing--partly because of the future “food” it describes, but mostly due to the author’s suspension of disbelief. I’m a representative of Canada’s organic sector, but I’m also one of those ‘foodies’ the article describes. I love to discover new foods: I’ve had grasshoppers from a street-vendor in Mexico and sea cucumber (a Canadian export) in Hong Kong. But we’ve lost access to many foods our grandparents ate, and what remains is less nutritious than a generation ago. Today’s push for heirloom and organic food is about re-connecting consumers with food and nutrition, instead of handing control to a mediated, streamlined food system with different priorities. The biotechnology industry is an example your article fails to question: we hear promises of GMOs that will cure disease and fight hunger while saving the earth. But these same promises have been offered for over 20 years. In fact, today’s GMO crops come in two kinds: the first is resistant to a toxic chemical pesticide (used to kill everything else around it), while the second has a toxic bacterium inserted into it (killing the bugs that prey on it). Meanwhile, the same companies that control these GMO seeds also own the pesticides they require. The bacterium has been discovered in Canadians’ fetal cord blood, while pests are increasingly resistant to it, and the toxic pesticide is now one of the most used on the planet. Hunger and disease continue, but profits are good. So, although your cover story promises “you won’t believe what dinner will look like in a few years” I offer a nuanced alternative: don’t believe it--these novel foods may be growing in companies’ labs, but the glorious future they’re trying to feed us may well fail to germinate.
Matthew Holmes, Canada Organic Trade Association