Topic: genetically modified
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September 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM
It begs the question
The Times reported that DuPont Pioneer has joined with Monsanto in donating millions of dollars to try to defeat Initiative 522, which would require foods with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled. [“Agribusinesses give nearly $8 million to campaign against GMO labeling,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 13.]
If the genetically modified grains these companies sell are at least as healthful to consumers as are the non-modified grains, why are they trying to hide the fact that such grains are included in what we eat?
They should be perhaps using those millions to promote their products instead of fighting disclosure, shouldn’t they?
Tom Wingard-Phillips, Seattle
September 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM
More than 350,000 Washington voters signed the petition to bring Initiative 522, an act to label genetically engineered foods, to the ballot here in Washington. [“Monsanto gives $4.6M to foes of GMO labeling,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.]
So far, Monsanto, who is the biggest agricultural profiteer of genetically modified foods in the world, has already dumped $4.6 million into the No on 522 Coalition.
Three other large agricultural companies that produce hybrid seeds and pesticides — Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences and Dupont Pioneer — are also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
Not one of those companies is based in Washington state, yet they are determined to keep Washington voters from winning the right to honest labeling of their food.
Don’t let Monsanto and other agricultural profiteers buy your vote.
Emily Bishton, Seattle
A right to know
I want to know whether a given food product has genetically modified ingredients.
I am educated, informed and concerned about the amount of influence Monsanto and other commercial-food producers have over this issue.
They have generally shown themselves to be entirely self-interested and profit-motivated in the past, and don’t seem to prioritize long-term public health very highly. They don’t appear to be good corporate citizens.
Please don’t let these companies frighten Washington voters with a large and depressingly effective scare-tactic advertising campaign.
Get their money out of politics and this decision. Make them improve their transparency and make them accountable to the public.
I feel I have a right to know whether there are genetically modified ingredients in the foods I eat and feed to my children. Let’s encode that into law.
Russell Cork, Bremerton
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
June 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Everyone has the right to know
After reading the article about genetically modified (GM) wheat, I am left with one overriding thought: We all have the right to know. [“Wheat scare leaves farmers in rough spot,” page one, June 19.]
Washington wheat farmers have a right to know what the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has learned about Monsanto’s GM wheat found in Oregon. We have a right to know what is in our food.
This is why Washington needs to join the growing number of states demanding labeling of GM foods. If we give up our right to know what is in the food we eat or the seeds we plant, we are giving up our democracy.
The right to know is fundamental to American democracy. Stand with the wheat farmers now by demanding the USDA share its information now. Assert your personal rights and vote “yes” on Initiative 522 in November.
Erin Christie, Seattle
June 19, 2013 at 8:30 PM
A dire harbinger of things to come
I disagree with Glen Squires’ position that the discovery of unauthorized genetically modified (GM) wheat in Oregon is merely an isolated “glitch.” [“Guest column: Industry will survive wheat ‘crisis,’” Opinion, June 13.]Rather, this is a dire harbinger of things to come — GM wheat crops soaked in the herbicide Roundup, generically known as glyphosate, continued refusal by foreign markets to accept Washington wheat (based on their legitimate concerns regarding the safety of GM crops), and the proliferation of “super” weeds resistant to Roundup, requiring the spraying of even more pesticides.
These dangers underscore the importance of a “yes” vote on Initiative 522 to label GM crops and foods. We need to send a clear message to the wheat industry that GM wheat will not be tolerated.
Inez Peterson, Renton
June 19, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Don’t trust the FDA
Glen Squires claims that we have nothing to worry about, because the strain was “certified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration” (FDA). [“Guest column: Industry will survive wheat ‘crisis,’” Opinion, June 13]
The arthritis drug Vioxx was also approved by the FDA. Vioxx caused 27,000 heart attacks before it was finally pulled from the market. I don’t trust the FDA.
Maggie Willson, Seattle
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