Topic: genetically engineered foods
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September 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM
It makes sense
The process of plant-genetic engineering is different from traditional plant-hybrid breeding to obtain a desired trait. Genetic engineering forcefully introduces foreign-gene fragments into plant cells to create a new trait.
One pro for genetic-engineering techniques is that the trait can be obtained in weeks or months, unlike the years required for conventional breeding. A con is that hidden changes may occur in the plant cells due to the excess foreign-gene fragments. Some people exhibit allergic reactions to foods containing genetically engineered crop products.
Foods already carry a nutritional label with ingredients such as trans-fats, artificial dyes and sweeteners, preservatives and warnings for other allergens. Labeling genetically engineered foods is a logical approach to alleviate the food-associated problems in sensitive people.
Genetically engineered food labeling is required in 64 countries. Many U.S. food manufacturers already provide genetically engineered food labeling for export to those countries. The system of labeling is in place now.
If Initiative 522 passes, it may actually be beneficial for manufacturers because they can have common labeling and streamline their products’ packaging
Toyoko Tsukuda, Richland
September 24, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Thanks for the article on the Initiative 522 campaign. [“Familiar figures lead fight on GMOs,” page one, Sept. 23.]
Thanks for highlighting the chasm in money, with deep-pocketed anti-labeling forces outspending the pro-labeling side 5 to 1 in California, 3 to 1 in Washington.
I found it interesting that the anti-labeling activist from California who was quoted, Bob Goldberg, claims “the money doesn’t mean anything.” Obviously, the highly paid political consultants working on the anti-labeling campaign don’t believe they are wasting the millions of dollars their clients are spending to saturate our state with advertisements.
Monsanto sells billions of dollars’ worth of GMO seeds and the pesticides that go with them. That’s why the company pours millions of dollars that “don’t mean anything” into anti-labeling campaigns in California and Washington.
No matter what they say, Monsanto’s money means a lot to Goldberg, a biology professor who has professional ties to Monsanto, and it means a lot to the voters of the state of Washington.
Webster Walker, Seattle
September 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Science doesn’t support I-522
Initiative 522 on Washington’s November general election ballot — to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods — should be soundly defeated.
While popular among the uninformed, it is misguided and opposed by our state’s agricultural leaders. I-522 fosters needless fears and will cost consumers and taxpayers millions.
As a physician, I am concerned about the anti-science agenda being pushed by I-522 backers. Over 440 peer-reviewed scientific studies conducted over the past 20 years by such organizations as the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have shown GE foods are safe and even beneficial to farmers, consumers and the environment.
The American Medical Association has concluded there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.
I-522 backers also fail to mention that a new state government bureaucracy would be needed to monitor the labels on countless products in each and every store across the state, without dedicating any money to pay for it.
Finally, I-522 creates a whole new class of lawsuits against farmers and food processors.
Please vote no on I-522.
Robert Wood, Seattle
September 3, 2013 at 7:26 AM
The right to know
In California, chemical companies like Monsanto spent millions of dollars to narrowly defeat a “Right to Know” ballot initiative that would have required food manufacturers to label foods produced with genetically engineered crops.
Consumers demanded information, but big corporations preferred we remain ignorant.
It’s not just the chemical companies that don’t want us to know what is in our food. The Grocery Manufactures Association (GMA) — a food industry trade association that represents the world’s largest branded food, beverage and consumer product companies — just donated 1.75 million dollars to defeat a similar ballot initiative (I-522) in Washington.
This group is willing to spend nearly $2 million to keep us in the dark about genetically engineered foods. It makes you wonder, what else they are hiding? Just what exactly are they putting in their products? We should have a right to know!
Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director of the Center for Food Safety, Washington, D.C.
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