Transparent Food No. 6, Jan 1, 2005

American Flatbread – Flatbread Kitchen
New Year’s Day, 2005
Tonight’s menu and baking are dedicated to

Transparent Food No. 6

Last night I wrote: “food that has been irradiated, grown with G.M. seed stocks, injected with growth hormones, treated with antibiotics or contain residues of pesticides do not have to be labeled as such. I think if there was more honesty and transparency on how our food is grown and processed we, as a nation, would enjoy better, cleaner foods.” And, as I wrote three nights ago, this is important because, “food is important.”

The doctrine of transparency in our financial and governmental institutions lies at the core of how and why they work. Transparency conveys trust, and it is trust in the process that allows us as investors and citizens to work towards the institutions’ ends. Indeed, the long-stalled Japanese economy has been hobbled by the international investment community’s perception of insufficient transparency in Japanese financial institutions. Investors simply do not trust the process and so they choose not to participate. Here in the United States we saw the effect of skirting the transparency rules that govern how publicly traded companies report their earnings in the Enron and World Com cases. Although these “secretists” and deceptors ultimately collapsed, the system survives because the idea of transparency prevailed. Our system of government has benefited in a similar way: we have better government because the system is essentially open—and I would argue that the parts that are not open are ones most problematic to good governance.

In the same way that the doctrine of transparency has benefited commerce and government I believe that it would also benefit the national food supply. I believe that all food that has been grown or processed with G.M.O.’s, growth hormones, that contain residues of antibiotics or pesticides, or that has been irradiated should be labeled as such. I assume that the proponents of these practices believe they are good for our food. I say great. Put what you have done on the label and then make your case to the public, and let the marketplace decide.

Thanks for coming tonight. Happy New Year, Everyone. Love, George

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