Counterpoint on GMOs

Prop. 37 instigator weighs in on the use of genetically modified organisms

Pamm Larry is a 35-year resident of Chico, a grandmother and former farmer, the Northern California director for and the initial instigator of the 2012 Proposition 37 campaign to label genetically engineered foods in California.

I’d like clarify a few of the GMO-industry talking points shared by Dylan Burge in the June 6 edition of the CN&R (see “Stop demonizing GMOs,” in Letters, June 6).

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have not been proven safe for humans, animals, the environment or our economy. In fact, there is an extensive and growing body of “unbought” science that says quite the opposite.

GMOs are not the product of the same breeding methods of the past. An ocean pout (eel-like creature) does not cross with a salmon. Yet unlabeled GMO salmon containing pout genes will be on our tables soon—unless we stop it. An Arctic Ocean fish does not normally cross with yeast to give Dreyer’s Ice Cream its “creaminess.” Corn does not naturally produce its own pesticide.

GMOs are not the way we will feed the world. Agribusiness is killing the soil, polluting water, increasing greenhouse gases, and harming farmers in the long run. Google the IAASTD Report; GMO Myths and Truths; the Rodale Institute’s 30-year study; A Harvest of Heat; and more reports countering this biotech public-relations “misrepresentation.”

GMOs have not been proven safe for long-term human consumption. A study has shown increased tumors in rats fed GMO corn. Another very recent study found pigs fed GMOs suffered from a higher rate of stomach inflammation and enlarged uteri. Yet another peer-reviewed study found that the main ingredient in Roundup, which is sprayed on GMOs, city streets, golf courses and playgrounds, could be linked to Parkinson’s disease, infertility and cancer, among other health problems.

GMOs harm our farmers’ export security. GMO wheat was recently found in Oregon, so Japan and South Korea stopped importing shipments. If found elsewhere, the other 62 countries that label or ban GMOs could also refuse our hard-working farmers’ crops. Our North State rice farmers went through the same thing a few years ago because of GMO rice contamination, which resulted in bans on our rice exports.

Seed varieties are dwindling—chemical companies are patenting heirloom varieties, and then taking them off the market. Chard and table beets are becoming contaminated by sugar beets. Canola (a brassica) is contaminating our broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbages and others in its family.

Our food system is being taken over by a few corporations. We, the people, are waking up to these deceiving PR campaigns, but we need to do so more quickly and in larger numbers. Together, we can take back our food supply.