Ever since Director of Culinary Support & Development Marc Zammit and I saw the film the Future of Food, we’ve been discussing how Bon Appetit can take a stand on genetically engineered food. Deborah Koons Garcia’s documentary really opened my eyes to the environmental devastation being caused by GMOs as well as the potential health consequences and how far seed companies have gone to “protect” their patented material. Marc and I were both outraged by the way farmers are being treated and varietals are being lost forever.
However, sadly, without labeling, it is almost impossible to know if products we purchase are made with GE plants. Bon Appetit’s made from scratch cooking philosophy insulates us somewhat as we have control over most of the ingredients we use but it seems soy protein and corn syrup have found their way into a multitude of foods. So, what is a socially-conscious food company to do?
Well, as a first step, we have signed on to the Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance. Thus far, we are the largest, and only restaurant, company to join this group.
The Alliance is a network of organizations and individuals promoting precautionary policies on genetically engineered food and agriculture. They have a concise, four point policy platform to educate policy makers and the general public about the risks associated with genetic engineering in food crops.
I think this is a good start but we have to do more. I don’t hear much from our customers about the issue though. Please comment and let me know what you think. Should Bon Appetit take a stronger stance? If so, what would that stance be? Eliminating all genetically-engineered foods from our cafes may, in practicality, be impossible at this point without going 100% organic. Is this a topic that resonates with you at all or are there other issues we should tackle first? Let us know.
– Maisie Greenawalt, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives