Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An interesting twist in the GMO debate

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 3:59 PM

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People are already casting their ballots for the November election in which, among other things, voters will decide whether to require labeling on some foods containing GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

It's a tricky issue — one that frustrated even our editorial board. On the one hand, science hasn't shown that there are any real health risks associated with GMOs. And is it right to burden the food industry with labeling something in a way that may scare consumers when it doesn't represent a proven risk? On the other hand, GMOs are usually designed to work with heavy pesticides and herbicides, which can be harmful not only to human health but also to the health of the environment. 

Coloradans struggling with the decision of how to vote on Proposition 105 might not be getting balanced information on the topic. After all, the food industry has poured $11.2 million into the campaign to defeat labeling. By comparison, the grassroots campaign to require labeling might as well be working for peanuts ($442,000). 

And apparently, that's not the only hardship the pro-labeling people face. Mother Jones has an interesting article detailing the refusal by top scientific journals Science and Nature to allow an ad that opposed GMOs. The ad was an article written by David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Bronner was willing to pay the full price of running the ad, which ran in several other high-profile magazines, but the journals refused.

In the case of Science, the ad sales person was clear on the reason: the paper was fearful of starting a war with the GMO industry. Corporate power, anyone?

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