Thank you for the informative piece "The $38 Million Label" (Oct. 11). Until recently, I did not worry about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in my food, but I have been very concerned for younger people having reproductive issues down the road with too many pesticides inside the seeds or the engineering that makes the foods "Roundup ready." After consulting a naturopathic doctor about some issues, and getting my blood and saliva testing results, I found out I have allergies to so many foods that I never had allergies to before. Along with not eating those foods, I was told to avoid corn, canola and soy oils and all other predominately genetically modified foods.
How am I going to know what is genetically engineered if it is not labeled? Why do so many other countries require labeling and we don't? I don't understand what they are trying to hide with pumping $38 million into lies and false information to sway people not to vote Yes on Prop 37. Ingredients are essential to me, and so are the labels listing fat, sodium, trans fat, saturated fat, carbs, sugar, calcium, and other vitamins to keep a balance in my diet. This is not going to affect restaurants, alcohol, dairy or meat, among other exceptions. It is a step in the right direction.
If these Monsanto and other people are so proud of their GMO foods, why not put labels on it? My university professor friend who spends half the year in Europe educating people said Europeans call genetically modified foods "Frankenfoods." Are we the human test tube for this latest scientific experiment like we are for the pharmaceutical industry?
For the younger folks and myself, I am voting Yes on Prop 37 to label genetically engineered foods.
Trisha Lotus, Eureka
Proposed legislation to label genetically engineered foods (aka GMOs) has failed in 19 states. In at least two states, Vermont and Connecticut, legislation failed immediately after Monsanto threatened to sue these states should a labeling requirement become law. The FDA does not consider the method of production, including genetic modification, to be meaningful information that is required to be on product labeling unless the modification results in a significant material change in the food product. As Michael Pollan points out, "thanks to the biotech industry's own lobbying prowess, there is no federal regulation on labeling, only an informal ruling, and ... nothing to pre-empt."
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment to the 2013 farm bill that would give states the right to require labels on food products that are genetically engineered. It also failed. Subsequently, the biotech industry introduced the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill rider, authored by Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. Known as the "farmer assurance provision" (Section 733), it specifically outlines that the secretary of agriculture will be required, upon request, to "immediately" grant temporary approval or deregulation of a GM crop, even if that crop's safety is in question or under review.
Which brings us back to consumers' right to know what's in our food and how it is produced. U.S. consumers are demanding this fundamental information on food labels, information that is already being provided to most of the world's population. Obviously the ballot initiative process remains the only way for this to happen. Our governments and legislators have failed us. Similar ballot initiative efforts are under way in several other states. Let Californians lead. Vote
"Yes" on Prop 37.
Peggy Leviton, McKinleyville