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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
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 16, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Informing the public
Products containing genetically engineered ingredients are banned outright in many other industrialized nations, or companies are required to provide labeling that indicates their presence in the food supply. [“Monsanto gives $4.6M to foes of GMO labeling,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.]
Initiative 522 is not asking for the more extreme option of a ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), instead empowering people with information so they can make the best food-choice decisions for their family.
If the presence of sugar, salt and other ingredient information is required to be labeled on consumer-food products, why not the presence of GMOs? The answer is simple: shareholder profit for the companies with vested interests in making their technology hidden and invisible in the food supply so people will never have the choice to knowingly purchase or not purchase their products.
There may be many smoke screens and scare tactics to prevent GMO labeling by the companies with vested interest in GMOs, but none of them will ever address the most fundamental issue involving this matter: the right for a population of people to make informed decisions about what food they ingest.
This is a matter of civil rights, which include informed consent. The people have a right to know exactly what nutrients they are eating. Other states like California have tried to seek the right to informed consumer choices regarding GMOs and failed. Please do not let that happen with Washington. We can set the precedent for the rest of the nation.
Adrian Linton, Mountlake Terrace
September 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM
I am definitely against the idea of putting something in my body from companies that won’t bother to tell me what was involved in the genetic alteration of their crops. [“Monsanto gives $4.6M to foes of GMO labeling,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.]
However, the whole point of Initiative 522 is not to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods; it is to allow Washington state residents, such as myself, the ability to make an informed decision on what we want to eat.
The real issue of what is happening right now with these major companies donating money is that they do not like the idea of their products being exposed. They are willing to deprive their consumer base of a right to know what’s in their products.
While I understand most consumers who are in an uproar about this issue are organic consumers, these companies are more afraid of losing the markets of the people who are not aware of the genetic alterations involved with their products.
These people must know the reasons behind the initiative, and that these companies will do anything to convince them that the labeling law will cost more money and that their GMOs are safe. Conversely, companies are constantly changing the labeling of their products, and do we ever see a crazy price hike due to these changes? No.
In the end, it comes down to a matter of priorities. I think these major companies are trying to prevent any backlash or loss of sales due to their misguided choices of “creating” their product.
Most consumers are just trying to feed their families with the best ingredients that their money can buy.
In the end, which priority is the most ethical?
Micah Woolman, Arlington
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
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