Even when I'm not working on something food-related, I can't escape it. One of my favorite podcasts, "Professor Blastoff," with comedians Tig Notaro, David Huntsberger and Kyle Dunnigan, just had an episode on the topic of taste (subscribe to it; hysterical is an understatement). You should listen to it in its entirety, but the part that piqued my interest was the discussion at the 45-minute mark about genetically modified foods. The guest-expert, Dr. Kathleen Keller, said the following:
Genetic modification is sort of the only thing I think that might save us from running out of food, which we're actually running out of food and energy to grow food. So, we're going to have to come up with new and creative ways of making food sources that will sustain us for the long term.
The conversation on GM foods fizzled out (largely by a way more entertaining conversation with Kyle's mother), but Keller's comments are bothersome. Perhaps from a taste perspective, modifying food to ensure that people enjoy what they're eating and get more nutrients in the process is an ideal pairing. But, it's a cop-out and it shows the harmful link between GM technology based on nutritionism and the perpetuation of an industrialized food system. We're addicted to and have evolved to crave highly salty and sugary food, deepened by the multitude of processed foods on the market that taps into these addictions. Genetically modified foods are not the answer; increased evidence demonstrates that the process is not a suitable solution for long-term sustainability, for our health or the planet's.
Thoroughly depressed? Just ignore my rant and listen to Professor Blastoff.