Do You Know What 'GMO' Stands For? These People Don’t

Jimmy Kimmel asks Angelenos why they avoid genetically modified organisms.
Oct 9, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Few things incite the ire of the foodie community more than genetically modified organisms. But despite their insistence on the “right to know,” some aren’t entirely sure why they should try to avoid them—or what the acronym stands for in the first place. At least, that appears to be the case in this clip from Wednesday’s edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The show visited a farmers market in Los Angeles to ask GMO-averse shoppers why they stay away from genetically engineered products—and what “GMO” stands for.

“You’re avoiding processed food, but when the whole food is somehow contaminated, that’s kind of making it a moot point,” one person tries to explain. When asked what GMO stands for, she answers, “Genetically manufactured…oh?”

Another says, “I know it’s some corn…. Bad stuff, right? I know it’s bad, but to be completely honest with you I have no idea.”

Research says GMOs carry no health risk, but people are still concerned about them. (They’ve become synonymous with Monsanto, the creator of Agent Orange and “zombie wheat.”) The current consensus is that they’re “no more or less risky than conventional crops,” according to Popular Science. Yet foods that have been scientifically tinkered with, often referred to as “Frankenfoods,” have many consumers so suspicious that big companies and government bodies have been forced to act.

Earlier this year General Mills launched GMO-free Cheerios. In November, Colorado and Oregon voters will decide whether to label genetically engineered products. Right now, as Jimmy Kimmel loosely puts it, “the FDA will allow companies to put ‘natural’ on a [genetically modified] product label as long as it says ‘JK, LOL’ on the back of the product.”

Food advocates couldn’t agree more—at the least, accurate labels are in order. As Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumer Reports, said in a statement, “Shoppers are being misled when they buy products labeled ‘natural,’ given their expectation that they are getting food that contain no GMOs.”