Opinion column ignored real concerns about GMOs

Opinion column ignored real concerns about GMOs

The Eureka Reporter, June 21, 2008

Dear Editor,

The opinion column by Amy Kaleita of the Pacific Research Institute reads as if it was written by and for the benefit of Monsanto Corp. Many consumers are concerned about the effects of GMOs on food security and believe that GMOs are being forced upon the public due to the lobbying power of the chemical industry.

Most GMOs are not about improved quality or taste or nutritional values. The most common use of GMO technology is for Monsanto’s “Round-Up Ready” corn, soybeans and now sugar beets. The primary benefit to these plants is that they can be sprayed directly with the herbicide Round-Up. As a result, the crops that are harvested have much higher levels of herbicide residues, which is a bad deal for the consumer. It is, however, a great deal for the manufacturer, who gets to sell the seed at a premium, along with lots of herbicide.

The chemical lobby is huge and powerful. In 1999, as Monsanto was developing its GMO “Round-Up Ready” sugar beet seed, the Environmental Protection Agency raised the allowable limit on residue of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Round-Up) from 0.2 parts per million to 10 ppm, a 5,000 percent increase.

The government requires no special labeling on GMO products, so unless specifically labeled “non-GMO” or “Organically Grown” (which disallows GMOs) you may unknowingly be purchasing “Frankenfood” products that have been genetically engineered and served up with an extra helping of herbicide.

David Lippman
general manager
North Coast Cooperative Inc.
Arcata

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