Wednesday, September 11, 2013

LETTER: GMOs don’t produce more food - Letters To Editor

LETTER: GMOs don’t produce more food - Letters To Editor:

While Tom Fairhall may not have been paid by Monsanto to write his Sept. 4 pro-GMO letter to the Leader, he didn’t mention he is an attorney for McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, a law firm that was part of Monsanto’s defense team in the U.S. Supreme Court case Bowman v. Monsanto.

While Fairhall may otherwise personally believe what he wrote, he made several statements that are not true. For instance, we do not need to increase world food production; we grow plenty already. Instead, we need to make food everywhere affordable. According to, “The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.”

But even if we did need to grow more food, “Failure to Yield,” a report by Union of Concerned Scientists expert Doug Gurian-Sherman at found, despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. What actually has increased is Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide usage, exposing us to higher levels of herbicide residue.
As for GMO food, “golden rice” in particular, being the answer to vitamin A deficiency, a cause of blindness in Third World countries, there are better ways to provide vitamin A-rich diets than relying on GMOs. Besides, food writer Michael Pollan tells us, “An 11-year-old would have to eat 15 pounds of cooked golden rice a day – quite a bowlful – to satisfy his minimum daily requirement of vitamin A.”
I am not ashamed to say I work as the outreach/education/marketing manager for the Port Townsend Food Co-op. I wonder why Thomas Fairhall didn’t wish to say he works for a law firm that defends Monsanto.
Port Townsend
The Leader asked Mr. Fairhall to respond to Ms. Meyer’s letter: “The McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff firm was not ‘a part of the Monsanto defense team.’ That is a false statement. Monsanto’s legal team consisted of a firm in St. Louis (Thompson Coburn LLP) and a Washington D.C. firm (Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr). My firm did file a friend of the court (amicus) brief in the Supreme Court that addressed a patent law question that the court was considering in the Bowman case, but this has absolutely nothing to do with either my letter or whether GMO labeling is a bad idea.”

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