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October 3, 2013 at 6:08 AM

On Initiative 522 and GMOs, a plea for elitism

gmo-corn-140x90The issue of Initiative 522 and genetically modified (GMO) foods is not mainly about how much the measure will cost. It is about health.

The people who think GMO products are bad support informational labels on food products.  The people who think GMO products are good oppose the labels because they consider them to be “warning labels” and thus a false implication of a safe product.

The ad wars now underway avoid this. The anti side says GMO labeling will cost you money. The pro side says it won’t cost you a dime. A Seattle Times’  “Truth Needle” story by Lewis Kamb says the answer will depend on whether national products like corn chips are reformulated for Washington or are only relabeled.

The real question is whether there is a need to reformulate corn chips. If there is, it should be done, and hang the cost. If not, then no. Putting the question to a public vote doesn’t make a lot of sense, because how are the voters to know? It’s a question for scientists. (Is that an “elitist” opinion? You bet.)

The average voter, who is ignorant as stone-ground flour on these things, is put into the position of judging the measure by who supports it. Who do you trust? Monsanto or Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps?

On lots of public questions, I’m for voter initiatives. Not on this.

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