Occasionally you just have to stop and ask yourself what the public has against scientific progress; especially when it comes to feeding a burgeoning world at affordable prices while keeping food safe, abundant and affordable for everyone.

I honestly don’t get it – this reluctance to eat genetically modified (GM) foods.  I have been working in the agriculture industry for nearly seven years now and I can’t tell you how many stories that I have read, and how many times I have been told, genetically altered foods are dangerous, unpredictable, “unnatural,” toxic and poison and just you wait – soon the earth will be stricken by a universal pandemic that threatens to end life as we know it; all caused by those horrible “Frankenfoods.”

Just as you think you’ve lived long enough to have heard it all, along comes another silly campaign endorsed and supported by environmental coalitions, organic-only consumers and at least one questionable donor who want to add yet more words to already long and cluttered ingredient labels now on store shelves that the majority of us don’t read anyway. That’s right, you now need to know that you have been eating foodstuffs over the past many years that contain – (drum roll please) – genetically engineered fruits and vegetables! Ahh, the callousness and inhumanity of it all!

The initiative is known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act and is currently being evaluated to determine if the adequate amount of voter signatures has been collected to place it on November’s ballot.  No other state in the union requires these types of labels on food.

And these wise proponents of GM labeling, when asked what they have against gene-altered plants in our food chain, frequently offer up the answer of “No one really knows the threat. But beware, in a few short years health problems will develop on a global basis that will be traced to GM foods as the source.” Plus, of course, there’s “the possibility of creating brand new allergens.”

(For more, see: Time to take on anti-biotech crowd over GMO labeling)

This is simply unadulterated hogwash. It’s like saying we shouldn’t heat our food with electromagnetic radiation because we just can’t be certain about the long-term health effects of microwave ovens. Many of us didn’t grow up with these tools in our kitchens, but they aren’t exactly an unproven technology.

This so-called GM food threat isn’t how some globally respected organizations see it:  The American Dietetic Association, the American Medical Association, the Research Council of the National Academies of Science, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization all agree that GM products are safe and nutritious. FDA officials say there’s no need for the federal government to require labeling because there is no material difference between genetically modified and unmodified food.

In the United States, more than 170 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2011, according to the nonprofit International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. We’ve been growing GM crops for almost a generation, all over the world. Farmers have harvested billions of acres of them. People have eaten trillions of servings of food derived from these sources – all this without even as much as a reported tummy-ache.