Letter: What aren’t the Proposition 105 opponents telling us?
October 22, 2014
According to the Center for Food Safety, there are currently 64 countries around the world that have requirements to label foods containing genetically modified organisms. The U.S. is not one of them. On this fall ballot, the states of Oregon and Colorado and the county of Humboldt, California, and one in Hawaii have GMO label laws to consider.
The Colorado ballot measure Proposition 105 asks that food, when appropriate, have a label that says: "Produced with genetic engineering." How can such a simple statement cause such an outcry and such a flood of television ads and postcards warning us of a complete disaster? I have to ask the question: After billions of dollars of research by the state-of-the-art chemical, biological, agricultural and food-production facilities in the world, why should they not be overjoyed to have notice given of their fantastic work? Where's the pride? Instead, the industry opposes every effort to have the "fruits of their labors" even identified. In Colorado alone, in recent reporting, the industry was spending some $11 million in comparison with the "pro label" group's $400,000. What are they afraid of? What aren't they telling us?
One of the claims is that labeling will cost consumers a ton of money. An independent scientific research company looked closely at the Oregon proposition and the available scientific peer-reviewed literature and found that the cost might be approximately $2 per person per year. The other studies varied from about 30 cents to $15 per year. It's not nothing, but it's not much.
The research company ruled out studies that included a cost to food producers to develop two lines of food for the consumer. The new law does not require any such thing. That is strictly a marketing choice. Again, this begs the question: If there is nothing wrong with the GMO-containing food they are producing, which ought to be even more nutritious after all their research, why the big deal?
I think the bottom line is that "modern" industrial agriculture, as developed by the big chemical companies, depends heavily on fossil fuels, herbicides and pesticides, fertilizer, chemical-resistant genetically modified and patented seed, copious amounts of water and huge government subsidies. These are the folks putting up $11 million to defeat a state proposition.
What is at stake here is not only finding out how healthy the GMO food is but how healthy for us the whole GMO industrial system is. Are 64 other countries wrong?
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