I could certainly afford to pay up to 50 per cent more for organic food for my children to eat, but I refuse to. I decline to pay the premium for organic food because I cannot justify it when comparable conventional foods (including those with GMOs) are just as healthy and nutritious, and arguably more environmentally friendly.
According to many of my peers in this world of motherhood, not feeding my children organic food makes me ill suited to be a mom. I’ve actually been called a bad mother, an irresponsible mother, and downright lazy for wanting to feed my children an apple that won’t brown when you cut it — the new GMO Arctic Apple that’s been approved for sale. I didn’t realize that what I choose to feed my kids affected so many other people, in turn giving them the right to label me a “Bad Mom.” I wish these moms would recognize that we’re lucky to have the choice in what food we feed our families when so many in the world don’t have a choice.
We have all been eating these alleged “poisonous” GMOs for almost 20 years, yet within the last few years it seems a lot of people (mostly women/moms) are suddenly panicked about them. There have been a few petitions circulating that have increased the paranoia regarding GMOs and conventional agriculture. One petition calls for the removal of GMOs from baby formula and another is to stop pesticide use in conventional dairy products — a campaign started by Stonyfield, an organic yogurt company whose parent company is Danone.
To me, the latter petition is particularly absurd as its goal is to sell Stonyfield’s organic products by throwing its conventional competitors under the bus, even though it doesn’t take much Google searching to find out that organic farming uses pesticides too. This campaign strikes an unnecessary wave of fear among unknowing parents who think they are harming their children by feeding them perfectly safe and affordable conventional food.
I don’t feel guilt ridden for not buying organic food for my kids and neither should you. Here’s some food for thought: the World Health Organization (WHO), which I hold up at high standards as a registered nurse, states this about genetically modified foods:
“… no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”
WHO also tells me that breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life is the optimal way for feeding infants. I was able to successfully do that with my second and third children when only 10 per cent of mothers in Canada reach that goal. Yet I’m an awful mom now because I do not feed my children only organic food, right? (By the way, no one is any lesser of a mom than me for breastfeeding or bottle feeding for whatever length of time.)
Many organic food supporters abide by the “better safe than sorry” rule (the precautionary principle of motherhood), when it comes to food. I agree with that in my kids’ lives, I really do, but not when it comes to how their solid food is produced. It’s why I breastfed my babies for as long as I could and why I pay top dollar for car seats, rear face my toddlers for as long as possible, and won’t let them wear bulky winter jackets in their car seats even when it’s -30° outside. I care about my children’s health and safety immensely, but no food is ever 100 per cent safe, including organic food.
I know that I am a good mom. Some days I even call myself a great mom, and I don’t deserve to be called a bad mom for not feeding my kids organic food. So here’s my plea to you: don’t let the anti-GMO activist moms bully you into thinking that organic is the only or best way when it comes to feeding your kids. I assure you it is not. For me, it’s more important to feed my children a well-balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk products and meat, than to pay outrageous prices for organic foods because of unwarranted fears of a slightly increased risk of pesticide exposure at levels the world’s best scientists say is harmless. As long as the food is safe and healthy — and that’s what the best science says about conventional foods including GMOs — then buy what you want, that’s what I say.