Topic: Genetically modified organisms
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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.
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 19, 2013 at 7:08 AM
GMOs are poison
Reporter Melissa Allison missed the most important point regarding foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs): the health risks. [“On voters’ plates: genetically engineered crops,” page one, Aug. 11.]
Independent, long-term feeding trials on laboratory animals fed genetically engineered foods show serious health effects: tumors, low birth weight and shortened life spans.
GMOs are nothing more than slow-acting poisons masquerading as food.
Big, corporate agribusinesses would have these poisons crammed down our throats without our knowledge.
Vote “Yes” on Initiative 522 to label GMOs in food.
Patricia Michl, Lake Tapps
August 15, 2013 at 4:43 PM
We have a right to know
The recent article regarding the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) failed to mention that genetically engineered crops require more of Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, because the weeds it is supposed to kill have become resistant to it and have turned into super weeds, requiring more of the chemicals that generate huge profits for Monsanto. [“On voters’ plates: genetically engineered crops,” page one, Aug. 11.]
It is beyond me why anyone would think that eating genetically modified foods doused with more chemicals than conventional foods is a healthy thing. The animal studies coming out are proving them to be anything but healthy. The monarch butterfly population has plummeted by 59 percent in the past year, because all that Roundup has killed most of the milkweed, which is their primary food source. If something isn’t done soon, they could be gone forever.
It’s dangerous that the U.S. government and Monsanto have unleashed GMOs into the marketplace without any conclusive long-term studies. They’ve turned the American people into guinea pigs.
Mother Nature exists for our benefit. Monsanto exists solely for its own best interests and profits, so having it control our food supply is scary.
Vote yes on Initiative 522! We have a right to know exactly what we’re eating, and to avoid GMOs if we chose.
Gayle Janzen, Seattle
August 15, 2013 at 7:06 AM
I can’t help thinking, as I read about whether we should label genetically modified foods, that the unacknowledged elephant in the room is trust. [“On voters’ plates: genetically engineered crops,” page one, Aug. 11.]
The scientific community seems frustrated that the public is unwilling to trust the experts about the safety of genetically modified foods. They don’t want to risk letting the public have a voice, or the choice to know the details and decide for themselves.
Ordinary people, the scientists seem to feel, don’t have enough knowledge or intelligence to make intelligent choices.
So we should trust them to do it for us.
Let’s look at the choices food science has made for us in the past:
World War II science gave us widespread hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenated fats have hardened the arteries of millions.
High-fructose corn syrup is still contributing to an increase the number of diabetics.
Cattle were fed feed made from dead animals to save money and grow beef cheaply. Popular theory holds that cows were infected with prions from diseased sheep, which led to transfer of a neurological disease of sheep to cattle — mad-cow disease. That disease was then possibly transferred to humans who ate the beef, leading to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
These consequences were unknown when the products were introduced to market. Science didn’t have all the answers then, and it doesn’t now.
Ask yourself: What evidence is there, based on past experience, that we can trust science and industry to consider public health above their own financial gain?
Susan Plahn, Seattle
May 17, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Spend money on nutrition programs
While the $325,000 cultured-beef burgers may eventually benefit the environment in terms of water, land and energy use, they will not help feed the 2.5 million children who will die this year because of hunger, nor it will they help revive the hunger-induced stunted development of 200 million kids [“$325,000 burger, all beef, created in lab,” News, May 14].
The immediate help could come from simple, proven nutrition programs, especially those that target women and children during the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy to age two. According to the 2012 Copenhagen Consensus, every $1 invested in nutrition generates as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity — an excellent return in investment.
While the U.S. government has been a leader on food security and global health, with programs like Feed the Future, the United States’ nutrition investments represent less than 1 percent of development assistance despite their cost-effectiveness.
In the lead up to the G-8 Summit, the United Kingdom and Brazilian governments will host the first-ever global Nutrition for Growth pledging event on June 8, 2013, to mobilize new policy and financial commitments to fight malnutrition.
We should urge President Obama to reclaim the United States’ leadership on food security and global health and to make a bold move: Pledge $1.35 billion from 2014 through 2016 ($450 million per year) in nutrition programs.
Let’s not let children needlessly die of hunger while searching for a better, sustainable way to make beef.
Terrence Dai, 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
February 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Research may not be by objective party
I want to know if my food contains GMOs [“Skepticism on GMO labels,” Opinion, Feb. 18] for two reasons:
Most important, everyone has a right to choose what they put in their mouth, and to do so for their own reasons. If somebody doesn’t want to eat GMO foods because they think aliens are using it to control their thoughts, well, that’s still their right.
Second, I don’t trust that we are getting solid science. In the recent past, the government has imposed a ban on conducting basic research into, among other things — the bird-flu virus and gun violence. It has been abundantly shown that political considerations trump the truth.
Why should I trust the research on GMOs when I know for a fact that collecting data on other controversial subjects has been suppressed?
–Aimee Day, Ferndale
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