You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
November 9, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Debate over GMOs involves many untruths by large corporations
Your editorial repeated a factually untrue statement from Scientific American that “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tested all the GMOs on the market” to determine safety [“Voters don’t buy GMO labels,” Opinion, Nov. 6].
It’s true, the FDA conducts no scientific tests on any GMOs. The FDA only receives summary information from the company, “consults” with the company if there is indication of a problem (which there never is — the industry only submits dossiers that appear clean) and then rubberstamps the “application.”
As the FDA website puts it, “FDA considers a consultation to be complete only when its team of scientists are satisfied with the developers’ safety assessment and have no further questions regarding safety or regulatory issues.” In other words, the agency itself does no actual assessment.
Unfortunately, the debate over GMOs involves many instances of the repetition of untruths by organizations which should do better fact-checking.
Phil Bereano, Professor Emeritus, Seattle
October 25, 2013 at 6:33 AM
GMOs a national issue
Editor, The Times:
I have voted no on Initiative 522, not because I am against labeling genetically modified food products (I think it is a good idea), but because this is a national issue that should be addressed at the federal level to ensure standard labeling criteria throughout the nation [“I-522: Ads stretch truth on what foods would be labeled, left out,” page one, Oct. 23].
The state of Washington has no business dictating to the nation what should or should not be on a food label. Other states may develop their own regulations in response to I-522 and those laws may be incompatible with each other. This confusion will increase food prices as food companies try to comply with conflicting regulations.
One of the advertisements for I-522 on TV states that 64 countries in Europe have laws worded similarly as I-522 and food prices have not increased.
We are a nation of 50 states with our own constitutions and regulations. Sometimes it takes the federal government to make some things work.
My food prices might not increase but my taxes will.
Allan M. Schneider, Bellevue
September 26, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Contributors pursue economic self-interest
The article on the Initiative 522 campaign states that a total of eight donors have contributed $11.6 million to the NO on I- 522, with Monsanto throwing in $4.8 million and DuPont Pioneer $3.4 million. [“GMO labeling campaigns raising near-record money,” page one, Sept. 25.]
These two companies are heavily invested in the promotion of genetically modified products, and it is very likely that the other six contributors are pursuing their economic self-interest.
It brings to mind a comment that, as campaign contributions come more and more from wealthy self-interests, those with colossal fortunes are in effect the trustees for the public.
Is this what the voters of Washington want? The source of the contributions says it all.
Iona Stenhouse, 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
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
Trending with readers