Monday, August 4, 2014

GMO initiative is misguided - Boulder Daily Camera

GMO initiative is misguided - Boulder Daily Camera:

The Denver Post editorial on July 22, "Unintended consequences of GMO labeling initiative," outlined some concerns about Initiative 48, the mandatory GMO labeling initiative. The Farmers Alliance for Integrated Resources (FAIR) has identified a significant number of additional unintended consequences of this measure, as it relates to farming.
1) The initiative is vague and does not address the nexus between growth and production of food. For example, relative to Roundup-Ready sugar beets, the final product (sugar) after processing has no trace of GMO DNA, but would still need to be labeled.
2) Meanwhile, all the exceptions, that very well could contain GMOs, would not be labeled, thereby misinforming the consumer, who only relies on a label to inform them if the products they are consuming have been genetically engineered. The long list of exceptions include alcohol, gum, numerous processed foods, food intended for immediate consumption, all restaurant food, any meat or fish that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether it has been fed genetically engineered feed, and any medically prescribed food.
3) It adds an unnecessary fear factor to food. Some people are allergic to nuts, or have gluten intolerance, or need to know sugar content for their diabetes, for example, and it makes sense to put that information on a label. However, labeling a food for its food production process that has been studied in over 1,700 independent scientific studies that have shown no negative health benefits is disingenuous. Far from than arguing for transparency and a right to know, the bottom line reason behind the labeling efforts is to demonize a safe and effective way to produce food.
4) Genetically modified crops have been grown for thousands of years. Genetic engineering inserts one specific gene for a trait, rather than thousands of genes (with varying results), which has been done through hybridization and cross-breeding, therefore genetically modifying a crop. GE allows farmers to make progress faster, resulting in a crop that is, for example, more drought resistant, or tolerate to certain herbicides, which allows farmers to use less herbicide.

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