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Napa Letter: "Prop 37 Labeling Should be Required" to Force Research

"I believe Prop 37 (the required labeling for GMO food) is the only leverage we have to put pressure on the industry to provide us with more information. Lobbyists work on behalf of their client, who works on behalf of ours?" writes Indra Fort

Dear Editor,

I believe Prop 37 labeling should be required to pressure on companies to allow research.

Why do I believe we need labeling for GE (Genetically Engineered) foods? Because there are a number of legitimate health concerns and the companies that supply GE foods are attempting to block further investigation into these concerns. Labeling will put pressure on these companies to allow more definitive research.

I will highlight three of the several health concerns.

#1: GE foods can heighten allergic reactions. Our bodies do not recognize some of the GE strains and sensing an unnatural invasion our body responds as though we are sick, by producing more antibodies.

#2:  Eating GE foods may substantially decrease the antibiotic effectiveness in humans. For example if a GE vegetable with an antibiotic-resistance gene is eaten it could destroy the antibiotic in the stomach.

#3: The Bt protein found in Roundup pesticide kills kidney cells. GE plants like maize are created with these Bt toxins built in. 

We need to have a better understanding of the GE process and its implications. Some people claim this process has been around for decades, but that's not true. Unlike cross-pollination, which has been tested on humans for a long time, GE foods insert a particular section of DNA into a plant thereby changing its genome (the entirety of an organism's hereditary information).

GE plant manipulation has only been in existence for a short time.

Adequate research is prevented.  

Due to intellectual property rights independent research is extremely difficult. Farmers are forbidden to give GE seeds to researchers. If a researcher gets seeds they then have to get approval from the company that produces those seeds before they can conduct research. Research requests are typically denied and scientists that try to reveal information they have obtained via freedom-of-information have been threatened with legal action.

Even the FDA does not conduct independent research; relying instead on reports that are provided to them by the company.

Let's look at what type of research the company has put into its own product. First of all there are no studies using human subjects. Monsanto's website states, "There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans." 

The animal tests they have conducted are short-term tests which means they do not allow for long term diseases, such as cancer investigation or studies into the effects of offspring.

Labeling will put research pressure on the industry.

Given the fact that there are a number of health questions and inadequate testing I believe Prop 37 (the required labeling for GMO food) is the only leverage we have to put pressure on the industry to provide us with more information. Lobbyists work on behalf of their client, who works on behalf of ours? We need to stand up for what we believe and demand the right to healthy food.

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John Richards October 16, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Those are good points you raise. I do not trust Monsanto, the company that gave us supposedly safe chemicals such as Agent Orange and DDT.

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