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Napa Letter: "I am Voting YES on Proposition 37"

"If these products are safe then what is the harm in labeling them and letting consumers make their own decisions?" writes Cindy Clark of Napa. Send your letters to the editor to napa@patch.com: Most are published within 12-24 hours.

Dear Editor:

I’m not an activist, and I’m not against “corporate America.” I am, however, someone who likes to know what I’m buying and what I’m eating. There is no mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods in the U.S. For this reason, I am voting YES on Proposition 37.

Corporations, such as Monsanto and Dupont, are against this proposition, stating that genetic engineering is fine. Not surprisingly, they either produce GE seeds and/or herbicides that work in conjunction with these seeds. Obviously, the big corporations have a lofty vested interest in protecting their profits.

Unintended effects do occur in life. Who knows what the potential unintended effects may be from genetic manipulation. If these products are safe then what is the harm in labeling them and letting consumers make their own decisions?

Prop. 37 may not be perfect, but its passing will create awareness. Many people do not know about GE food, and people will be shocked to learn how many processed foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Labeling gives us a greater opportunity to make informed choices.

For those of you who aren’t against genetically engineered foods, don’t you at least think that others who are concerned have the right to know what they’re buying?  

Cindy Clark, Napa

Napa Patch welcomes letters to the editor at napa@patch.com.

Do you have a comment? We'd like to know what you think. Napa Patch asks that commenters use human names, rather than slogans, when taking part in our community conversation. If you'd rather remain anonymous, feel free to email comments to napa@patch.com.

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Scott Yeager September 19, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I am always wary of someone commenting on a proposition out of the blue with no profile information and it turns out this is their first and only comment on this site.
james gary September 19, 2012 at 03:16 PM
1 & 2: Yes, Monsanto backed a VOLUNTARY label in the UK. There is a huge difference in the legislation passed there and the monstrosity of a bill in California. 3. Scott, journalists are not scientists nor are they perfect human beings. That article is in err. Please read what AMA actually said on their website. No reason to get your information second hand when you can easily find their statement on their website.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Whoops! I just noticed this got published with my byline on it (a default I forgot to uncheck) when it's obviously Cindy's letter. I apologize for the technical error. On a related topic: Here's a new blog post from another North Bay Patch, responding to the Stanford meta-study on organic food: http://napa.patch.com/blog_posts/the-stanford-organic-food-meta-study-is-scientific-nonsense
Ted Schmidt September 19, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I plan on voting yes. I think the main concern after watching Genetic Roulette should be the "health of the human race". All the other stuff takes a distant second and can be figured out once we have determined whether GMO's are healthy or not ... and so far it seems they are not. Again, it's starting to look like another case of a Big Business/Govt Agency/Prestigious Institution BS'ing the public for short term profits. http://www.youtube.com/user/VoteYesonProp37
vocal-de-local September 19, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Most definitely, I am voting a big yes on Proposition 37. We deserve to know what's going into our bodies. We do not know the longterm health effects of GM products, plus we have little control of which direction the technology will be carried. Right now, the genetics are being manipulated so that plants have higher resistance to insects. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that gene manipulation is putting pesticides INTO the plant. You can't wash that stuff off. Plants already have natural substances which deter insects. Humans evolved alongside that process. Humans adapted to natural genetic changes that occurred with evolving plants. Some people probably died along the way. That's natural selection. People are going to have horrible allergic reactions to this stuff. Some people may feel as though they have the flu for the rest of their lives and they won't know why. It's also possible that constant exposure of GM plants which essentially put insecticies inside the plant, may lead to cancer. We deserve disclosure.
Scott Yeager September 19, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Great, why don't they volunteer to label here, just as in the UK, and save us all the time and trouble? Since they are so behind their product. http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/gm/gm_labelling Stop capitalizing to try and make your point. I can read. I am well aware journalists are not scientists nor perfect human beings and I did a search and came up with that article, just like any other human being. Journalists write about many things they are not experts in all the time. Should they just be experts in a field to write about it? Why is it you suddenly showed up on this website to comment on Prop 37 and have commented on nothing else on here and haven't posted anything in your profile?
Scott Yeager September 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM
They are putting pesticides in the corn as you said. It's a fact. Who doesn't want a little pesticide with their fruits and vegetables?
vocal-de-local September 19, 2012 at 04:48 PM
In response to the comment that GM labeling will increase food costs: Why is it that people think food should be low cost or free? All we have to do is look around to see the consequences of cheap food. Obesity is epidemic. Taxpayers will be paying dearly for people's poor eating habits as they begin developing health problems later in life. We have teenagers today developing type 2 diabetes. Just think about what type of health problems they will be developing at age 30. Is it wise to make food so cheap that a fast food hamburger costs less than 3 bucks? GM corn and grains are fed to cattle. We also need disclosure on farm animals who are fed GM products. The argument from Monsanto and others that Prop 37 will increase food prices is not a good one. Cheap food leads to obesity. We may not pay for it now, but the cost of 'cheap' will arive later. I feel sorry for all our kids who will be stuck paying for it. People need to get back to the place of caring what they put inside their bodies. Perhaps if food was more expensive, they would have some respect.
Scott Yeager September 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The reason there are still low cost fast food items is the quality of the ingredients in the product is low. Why do people still think there are $1.99 burgers at these chains for years and years and years?
F Otterbeck September 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I am wary of people who make sweeping generalizations, such as, "the entire scientific community." France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece have all blocked GMOs. That means that the scientists in those countries still had some questions.
F Otterbeck September 20, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Well said.
vocal-de-local September 20, 2012 at 12:48 AM
And if this link doesn't scare the dickens out of readers about genetically modified foods, nothing will. http://www.foodmatters.tv/_webapp/the%20truth%20is%20out%20on%20genetically%20modified%20foods%20-%20and%20it's%20not%20pretty At this point, I will assume people who continue advocating for GM foods either want cheap food so that they can, ugh, sweill up or they just do not care about what they put into their bodies. They are walking, talking garbage disposals and their bodies are nothing more than machines to them.
james gary September 20, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Ted- I suggest referring to credible sources for information on this subject. Gilles Seralini and Jeffrey Smith do not fall into this category. heres a list of 126 independent studies showing gm safety: http://www.biofortified.org/genera/studies-for-genera/independent-funding/ 10 year EU taxpayer-funded study showing no danger detected in any GM crop: http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf
james gary September 20, 2012 at 02:56 AM
There is no "pesticide put into the plant" LOL. There is a gene inserted into the plant's DNA that expresses the same protein as a naturally occurring soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringensis. Bt occurs everywhere and youve likely ingested pounds of it already in your life, so tell us why this non-toxic bacteria is suddenly so concerning....
james gary September 20, 2012 at 02:59 AM
"Why is it that people think food should be low cost or free?" Tell that to the poor living in southeast asia, where the majority of US grains are consumed. You guys are quite presumptuous to assume that everyone has problems with imaginary, scientifically unfounded notions about the crops we grow. Just sayin...
james gary September 20, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Well......first of all- we dont refer to blogs that quote literature from high school-educated novel writers with zero scientific credentials (cough, cough Jeffrey Smith). " they can, ugh, sweill up or they just do not care about what they put into their bodies. They are walking, talking garbage disposals and their bodies are nothing more than machines to them." LOL. None of your assertions have any basis in reality or can be substantiated by any science. Maybe you can link some proof to any of your claims?
vocal-de-local September 20, 2012 at 03:47 AM
In response to James Gary's 7:59 pm on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 response: Perhaps feeding the entire world increases population levels to an unnatural level. Genetically modified foods are unnatural and so are 5 BILLION people. We need to start living within our means without relying on the constantly evolving food technologies to keep pace with it - which are also destructive to the environment btw. And please don't suggest that corporations are trying to keep pace, or rather lead, out of the kindness of their hearts.
vocal-de-local September 20, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Here's a National Institute of Health library study which questions the testing methods done on mammals using GMO's: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706426/?tool=pubmed Oh and hey, the authors are genetic engineers. Is that scientific enough for you, James Gary? One researcher, John Fagan, a biomedical researcher and expert in food system sustainability and GMO testing, returned $614,000 in grant money to the National Institutes of Health in 1994 because of his concerns about the safety and ethics of genetic modification. The point is that we cannot trust the large agribusiness funded studies. Here's the conclusion of the above study "Generally speaking it seems to us unbelievable that a risk assessment carried out only on forty rats of each sex receiving GM rich diets for 90 days (yielding results often at the limits of significance) have not been repeated and prolonged independently. We should overall take into account the fact that the analysed GM product could be fed long-term to people and animals of various ages and sexes, and with various pathologies." What's your response to this comment, James Gary. Not scientific enough eh? If we cannot trust safety studies, we deserve, at the very least, to have label disclosure.
vocal-de-local September 20, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Study released today: Massive tumors in first long term GMO study: http://www.examiner.com/article/massive-tumors-rats-fed-gmos-first-long-term-study Vote YES on Proposition 37
Scott Yeager September 20, 2012 at 05:27 AM
James - You still didn't answer my question why Monsanto volunteered to label in the UK but is fighting labeling here? Who is the "we" you are referring to in your previous comment? Why are you only commenting on this subject and only appeared on this site after this letter was posted?
Scott Yeager September 20, 2012 at 05:29 AM
I was going to post that link earlier, but hey, it's not a real scientific study according to "james gary".
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 05:30 AM
(speaking of some journalists not being scientists, and definitely not rocket scientists)!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I would say the home team has the visitor on the run with this one.
Scott Yeager September 20, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Even if GMO's are the safest product invented in the history of the world, and yes, they are patented products made by large for profit corporations, they are not creating these products for the good of mankind, but for profit only. Organic farmers take on Monsanto over patent lawsuits http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/17/local/la-me-gs-organic-farmers-sue-monsanto-to-stop-patent-suits-20120217 David Versus Monsanto http://youtu.be/OLzELDt3d2I
Scott Yeager September 20, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Funny that "james gary" doesn't mention GMO's are patented products does he? Or that you can be sued for using a patented product that contaminates your crops that this stuff infects even when you never used the patented product and didn't want it mixed with your crop in the first place? Please say it isn't so "james".
Scott Yeager September 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Hello "james", are you there?
John Richards September 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Bacillus thuringensis.(Bt) works by fissuring the stomach of insects which eat it. Evidence is mounting that it may also affect the GI tract in humans. Is it any wonder that we have seen big increases in the incidence of Chron's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Leaky Gut syndrome, For a real eye opener see this movie: http://geneticroulettemovie.com/
vocal-de-local September 21, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Oops! Meant to say 7 BILLION! Typo error from typing in low light. Bad habit!
Ernie Stoddard September 22, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I wonder how many will give up eating when they find out... Do you know that your hamburger can legally contain maggots and rat poop? FDA rules permit an average of 2 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams; an average of 300 or more insect fragments (referred to as insect filth) per 10 grams; an average of 10 or more fly eggs per 500 grams or 5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 500 grams. Sound like a witch’s brew? The only thing missing is, “”Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing, ….” (Shakespeare’s Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15). Granted it is not a large sum, but any amount of fly eggs, insect hairs, insect filth, maggots and rat poop in our food is too much. The Food Defect Action Levels, last revised November 2005, is a publication of the USDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition detailing acceptable levels of food contamination from sources such as maggots, thrips, insect fragments, “foreign matter”, mold, rodent hairs and insect and mammalian feces. The list also includes “foreign matter”, which includes ‘objectionable’ items like “sticks, stones, burlap bagging, cigarette butts, etc.”
Ernie Stoddard September 22, 2012 at 12:56 AM
A printed version of the publication may be obtained by written request to the FDA. Sadly these levels were determined by industry insiders appointed to the USDA to protect the food industry. Since the FDA and USDA are so remiss in inspecting and testing foods, is there really any way to know how much “maggots, thrips, insect fragments, “foreign matter”, mold, rodent hairs, and insect and mammalian feces” have been ground right up with the rest of the ingredients? While the industry and the FDA claim the food is tested, the number of recalls, Salmonella and E. Coli outbreaks proves otherwise. The publication details the acceptable amounts of contaminants on a per food basis, listing both the defect source (pre-harvest infection, processing infestation, processing contamination, etc.) and significance (aesthetic, potential health hazard, mouth/tooth injury, etc.). For example, the limit of insect contaminants allowed in caned or frozen peaches is specified as, “In 12 one-pound cans or equivalent, one or more larvae and/or larval fragments whose aggregate length exceeds 5 mm.” Another example is Tomato juice which may average “10 or more fly eggs per 100 grams [the equivalent of a small juice glass - 3.5 ounces] or five or more fly eggs and one or more maggots.” Tomato paste and other pizza sauces are allowed a denser infestation — 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams [3.5 ounces] or 15 or more fly eggs and one or more maggots per 100 grams.

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