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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
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
March 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Health risks have been supported with evidence
Was Bruce Ramsey at the same legislative hearing on Initiative 522 that I was at [“I-522: a test of what you believe about genetically modified foods,” Opinion, March 13]? Ramsey says that “most of the dispute was not whether there are health risks — supporters mostly said they didn’t know …”
To the complete contrary, the supporters of I-522 at the hearing vigorously asserted the many health risks of eating genetically modified organism (GMO) food. I was at the witness microphone when Rep. Cathy Dahlquist asked about health risks and I specifically answered her question by stating that scientific studies have linked GMOs to cancer (Seralini, et al, 2012), stomach and intestinal growths (Ewen and Pusztai, 1999), infertility (Velimirov, et al, 2008) and birth defects (Paganelli, et al, 2010).
There are no studies from the pro-GMO side suggesting that eating GMOs makes you healthier. GMO food are all risk and no benefit. Consumers should have the right not to take the risk. Vote yes on I-522 to label the GMOs.
–Tom Stahl, farmer, Waterville
March 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM
People have the right to know
It’s hard to believe that Bruce Ramsey is so uninformed about genetically modified foods, he’s not convinced they should be labeled [“I-522: a test of what you believe about genetically modified foods,” Opinion, March 13].
Genetic engineering of seeds for uniform growth and ripening results in a lack of genetic diversity and less resistance to disease. If one plant becomes infected, they all die because they’re all the same. That’s what caused the Irish Potato Famine, which killed thousands, and one reason to be wary about messing with Mother Nature.
Genetic engineering for profit is what’s really at issue here. Not convinced? Look around you, Mr. Ramsey. See the preponderance of big hips, big feet and even bigger butts everywhere? Are you aware of the high concentrations of GMO sugars in just about every product on supermarket shelves, or that any Iowa farmer will tell you the corn he raises to fatten beef cattle isn’t fit to eat?
It wasn’t bad enough that the labeling of foods irradiated with nuclear weapons waste to prolong shelf life was once the big controversy; now we must deal with the Frankenfoods created by Big Pharm’s takeover of most seed companies.
Wake up, Mr. Ramsey — people have a right to know what they’re eating.
Isa “Kitty” Mady, Montesano
March 15, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Consumers deserve transparency
Anybody familiar with the way our pharmaceutical system works or the “GRAS” (generally recognized as safe) standard understands that big money players (big agriculture, big Pharma, etc.) have an enormous financial stake in keeping their products on the market, sometimes despite limited or sketchy research of efficacy or safety [“I-522: a test of what you believe about genetically modified foods,” Opinion, March 13].
I don’t want my government or a Monsanto lobbyist deciding for me what they believe is safe. I want to make that informed decision myself, and I do have a right to know that the high-fructose corn syrup in the soda on the grocery shelf was derived from corn that was genetically altered to withstand being doused with pesticides like Roundup.
GMOs have been developed and used in the U.S. pretty much out of the public view, but consumers like me are now demanding transparency and that is why I am supporting Initiative 522. There is an argument going on around the world about the safety of GMOs and very intelligent communities — the EU, for example — have rejected GMOs.
–Judy Neldam, Duvall
March 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Arguments against labeling are lacking
Thanks for the coverage of “House panel hears biotech-food testimony,” [NWThursday, March 7].
It must have been hard for Robert Maguire to make his arguments against labeling GMOs with a straight face.
First Amendment issues. Really?
Less choice in Europe. Really?
–Margy Laughlin, Seattle
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
February 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The public interest is not a special interest
In “Initiative 522 perpetuates faulty myths about GMO food” [seattletimes.com, Feb. 18], Thanh Tan’s opinion column opposing the labeling of genetically engineered food, she talks about “competing special interests.”
This is not a battle between “competing special interests.” It is a battle between one special interest — corporate agribusiness — and the public interest. The public interest is not a special interest.
–Maggie Willson, Seattle
Washington residents have right to know
With all due respect, your recent editorial, “Skepticism on GMO labels,” [Opinion, Feb. 18] would have better been titled, “Be skeptical of GMOs.”
The editorial notes, “There is no reliable evidence crops containing genetically modified organisms pose any risks.” Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Let’s face it, good or bad, we don’t know much about these crops. Except, of course, that the people telling us they’re safe are the same people responsible for making and selling them.
Washington residents deserve the right to know what they’re eating. That right should always supersede corporate rights to nontransparent profit. Why not allow consumers to make a choice instead of being scared of a little label?
As the op-ed states, more than 60 countries require labeling of some sort on GMO foods. What do they know that the U.S. doesn’t? I guess it’s how to run a country where people matter more than corporate greed.
–Ashley Lewis, Seattle
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