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September 30, 2013 at 7:17 AM
A commercial experiment
Much has been written, largely by opponents of I-522, arguing that there is, as of now, no measurable difference in the nutritional value of genetically modified foods compared to organic foods. [“GMO labeling campaigns raising near-record money,” page one, Sept. 5.]
This is a red herring. The real issue is whether or not the public shall have the right to decline to participate as guinea pigs in a huge (but profitable) experiment in human nutrition, the effects of which, like smoking (endorsed by doctors in the past), may be unknown for years.
I believe the public should have the right to choose whether or not to participate in any experiment, whether scientific or commercial.
Bill Appel, Seattle
September 26, 2013 at 7:26 AM
The right to know
The Seattle Times has recently published some articles about Initiative 522, the initiative on labeling food products that contain GMOs (genetically engineered organisms) on the upcoming ballot in Washington state. [“GMO labeling campaigns raising near-record money,” page one, Sept. 25.]
After reading all these articles, I have even more concerns about what is in the foods we eat. Of course I don’t want to spend more on food. Nor do I want costly expenses on businesses. Nor do I wish to be hoodwinked by large chemical corporations who seek to alter a vegetable such as a beet into a genetically engineered “supersugar” seed.
There have been increases over the last 60 years in documentation of cancers, brain disease, morbid obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even mental-health issues throughout society. It seems plausible that our foods’ ingredients could hold some major keys to our poor health.
One has to ask why a few agrochemical companies would spend more than $11 million in our state to keep us from knowing more information about genetically engineered ingredients in our foods.
I have my own opinion as to why. But I must say, my “right to know” cannot be sold. We deserve to know what is in our food. More importantly, we have the right to.
Julia Sheriden, Seattle
August 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM
Consumer’s right to know
As the “yes” and “no” voters for Initiative 522 present their reasons for labeling genetically modified foods, it reminds me of the debate for labeling organic foods more than 20 years ago. [“Chefs stir the pot on social issues,” NW Arts & Life, Aug. 18.]
Back then, the industry complained of bureaucracy, loopholes for cheaters, cost, lack of necessity, and all the other usual excuses industry uses to foil the consumer into believing them.
I also remember when food labeling was not required at all. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act was enacted in 1967. Industry was opposed to this legislation, for the same reasons listed above.
Today, can you imagine a grocery store filled with products with inconsistently sized packaging, no ingredient list and no sell-by date? Or no labeling of organic ingredients or products?
Initiative 522 is just a continuation of the consumer’s right to know what’s in the product, plain and simple. Whether you are for, against, or don’t care about genetically modified foods is not really the issue. It’s about providing information to the consumer.
Industry can and will adapt; they just like to complain. Vote for Initiative 522 to keep truth in packaging and labeling at the forefront of the consumer’s right to know!
Patricia Pyle, Olympia
August 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM
Glyphosate is harmful
The Seattle Times article on genetically engineered crops was informative, but it leaves out one of the crucial points of labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [“On voters’ plates: genetically engineered crops,” page one, Aug. 11.]
One benefit to farmers in raising GMO crops is that it allows farmers to saturate their crops with weed-killing glyphosate (Roundup) and initially have higher yields.
Glyphosate has been shown in test after test to have harmful effects on the environment and on animals eating food from these crops. It is implicated in infertility development of animals, including cattle and other livestock.
Bee populations necessary for the pollination of crops are dangerously reduced, and soil fertility is low in the U.S. Glyphosate is unhealthy, and we would like to know which crops are raised using quantities of this and other chemicals.
Do you wonder what these companies stand to gain by pouring $44 million into a campaign against requiring labeling? Just labeling, mind you, not prohibiting the production or sale of GMOs.
Cindy Damm, Seattle
Labels should be educational, not political
Thanks for Melissa Allison’s article on labeling of foods containing transgenic crops.
The article unfortunately omitted mention of transgenic papaya, which saved the Hawaiian papaya industry from ring-spot virus, benefiting farmers as well as consumers, and only hinted at the benefits of transgenic rennet, transgenic insulin and golden rice.
Thirty years ago, I favored the labeling of transgenic crops, thinking that it would help educate the public about genetics, evolution, ecology and food history. Sadly, anti-GMO forces, including environmental organizations that ought to promote biological understanding, have instead waged a decades-long campaign of fear-mongering and disinformation about genetic engineering.
These groups solicit contributions by using obfuscating terms like “frankenfood” and unsupported claims of toxicity to alarm the public, rather than providing evidence-based assessment of risks and benefits. Their efforts have all the intellectual dishonesty of climate-change deniers.
Labeling food as “genetically engineered” is merely a political move to discourage thoughtful evaluation, but the inclusion of the name of the transgene and a national database with objective information about each product might actually be educational, and lead to informed choices.
Paul Talbert, Seattle
May 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Questions about genetically engineered spuds
The J.R. Simplot Co. should be applauded for trying to keep their biotech potato a potato rather than creating a frankenfood [“Company a believer in biotech spuds,” Business, May 15].John Miller’s article does not really reveal how the potato was created and only states that the process is quicker than traditional crossbreeding of potatoes.
While I believe what Simplot has done should be applauded, I would like it if the following two questions be answered before using the method in the field: 1. Can it be evaluated for non-spud genes by an independent lab, and 2. Can the new potato plant cross with non-genetically modified potato plants? If it passes both tests, then it’s probably still a potato and worthy of eating the next time I have fish and chips. If it won’t cross with other potato plants then maybe the lab technique needs some refinement. It seems worth doing if you end up with plants that still fit in with the evolutionary character of plants on our planet.
Keith Wellman, Freeland
May 9, 2013 at 8:06 AM
Allow GMO labeling
Thank you The Seattle Times for printing this article that presents credible evidence that people in Washington state prefer to know what we are eating [“Customers pushing for GMO labeling in state,” NWSunday, May 5].The Bellingham grocer gave his shoppers the option to label, not label or eliminate genetically modified products. This is clear evidence that the industries claim that labeling will kill their ability to market genetically modified products. These citizens had the opportunity to have the items removed, but chose labeling..
Save your millions, biotechs et al., because we will label genetically engineered organisms in Washington state.
David Ludden, Seattle
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