This very important public service announcement just in from Thrive Market, guardian of all that is good and holy in the world of organic goods:
“Thrive Market is passionately committed to creating a world that is free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. We believe everyone has a right to know what they are eating and what chemicals are used in the foods they consume every day. That’s why we have carefully screened our products to ensure we do not carry any GMO foods.”1
Amen! Preach it, brother! Testify!
Actually, you might want to hold off on that. Thrive, how about getting down off your high horse and looking at the ingredients in your own products? Here, let me help you: Take a look at this nice bottle of Quantum zinc throat spray featured in your online store:2
Quantum Thera zinc throat spray from Thrive Market. (click/enlarge)
Vanna, show us the ingredients please (click to enlarge):
I’d like to buy several vowels. Enough to form the words “soy lecithin”. (click/enlarge)
Take note of the soy lecithin (highlighted). Derived from soybeans, soy lecithin is a natural, safe emulsifier–an additive that lends stability to foods. The problem for Thrive Market is that almost all soy produced in the United States is genetically modified.3 A quick phone call to Quantum’s customer service department confirmed that the soy in many of their products, including the throat spray sold by Thrive is, in fact, GMO.
So Thrive Market’s promise of a GMO-free store falls as flat as an Olympic pole vaulter who didn’t realize his shoestrings were tied together before setting off on his run.
Thrive Market is selling products with ingredients derived from GMOs.
We could quibble over the fact that the product in question is a throat spray–not a food–but it’s still clearly intended to be ingested:
“A great alternative to yucky-tasting zinc lozenges! In fact, just two spritzes every couple of hours of Thera Zinc Oral Spray is the most effective, tastiest way to deliver ionizable zinc to your throat. Thera Zinc is sprayed in the back of the mouth, sending powerful nutrients to the areas requiring the most protection.”–Quantum throat spray marketing statement 2
More importantly, Thrive and their misinformed organic backers are intent on ridding the world of GMOs in their entirety, no matter what product they’re found in. The anti-GMO zealots are horribly wrong about the effect that genetically modified crops have on the environment, wanting them to be removed entirely. Actually, there are ways in which GMOs are beneficial. For example, farmers who grow Bt corn are able to use less pesticides. Regardless, it’s rather dishonest of Thrive to demonize a perfectly safe crop production method, then sell products derived using that same method to their customers.
And, having said this, we must pause and state in the strongest possible terms that there is nothing harmful in Quantum’s zinc throat spray. This is just another small business trying to eke out a living that, unfortunately, got caught up in the tangled web of a $39 billion organic food industry using fear to market their products as “better”. There’s nothing superior, in any way imaginable, about organic products compared to their GMO counterparts. However, Quantum did tell me that they hope to eventually switch over to non-GMO soy. This saddens me. Yet another company bows to the irrational demands of a public that doesn’t realize how easily they’re being manipulated.
Hold On, It Gets Worse
Alert label readers may have noticed the company’s misspelled “Proplylene Glycol” [sic] next to the soy lecithin on the product label. They’re actually talking about propylene glycol, a harmless additive with a wide range of uses, including as surfactants and preservatives.
Woe unto Thrive Market, however, as they label propylene glycol as a dangerous endocrine disruptor in another of their hilariously bad scare pieces. In “Five Simple Pro Tips for Perfect Skin”,4 author Lauren Whitehouse warns readers to not allow “toxic” propylene glycol to touch their skin via cosmetics. Yet we now find Thrive Market literally trying to shove this so-called poison down our throats. Well, OK, spray it down our throats. Don’t worry though: just like GMO soy, propylene glycol is harmless. As intimated by Pinocchio in the opening graphic, Thrive and their backers aren’t exactly behind honest with us.
From whence comes so much of Thrive Market’s bad science and resulting hypocrisy? One culprit seems to be the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group, a special interest group that does no real research but is oft-cited by Thrive as a scientific authority. It turns out that EWG may have more of a financial stake in Thrive and other organic markets than meets the eye. Check back tomorrow, and I’ll start laying it out for you.
(1) Thrive Market’s GMO-free Promise
(2) Quantum Zinc Throat Spray
(3) USDA: Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States
(4) Five Simple Pro Tips for Perfect Skin
Thrive and Quantum product/screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
Pinocchio and Wheel of Fortune meme characters are used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.