In reference to the Capital Press editorial, “Anti-GMO crusaders miss rest of story,” Mr. Sampson missed the rest of the story, and the rest of the story has to do with what the Biotech industry doesn’t want the public to know.

That editorial stated, “that some folks don’t want to buy, or eat, food with genetically modified ingredients. That is their right, and they don’t have to. Any consumer can walk into any grocery store or farmers’ market and buy certified organic.”

Actually, it is not just “some folks” as Mr. Sampson states. Surveys vary, but it is safe to say 80% to 90% of Americans want food containing GMO ingredients to be labeled. Moreover, it is not true that any consumer can buy organic. Organic is more expensive and so there are many, many Americans who cannot afford to buy organic. They are left buying and feeding their children foods they believe to be safe.

Labeling GMO foods is the right thing to do, so people can make a choice. Contrary to the pro-GMO propaganda, labeling will not cost consumers more money. In this period of economic stress, the biotech industry is using higher costs as a fear tactic. All companies are already required to label food ingredients. Companies update their labels yearly. That cost is built into the company’s budget, it’s just a part of doing business. Adding a few more words will not increase the price of the food. It will however, give Americans the choice to buy or not to buy a particular food product. People in over 60 countries already have that choice. Why not Americans?

The editorial then goes on to state, “Based on available data and information, the FDA has no reason to conclude that food products derived from animals consuming feed from GE plants differ in quality or safety from those derived from non-GE plants.” This is a misleading statement, typical of the so-called scientific statements coming from the biotech Industry. The key phrase here is, “Based on available data and information.” The data and information “available” to the FDA, on which to base its claim that GMOs are safe, comes directly from the biotech industry itself – not independent scientific testing. The FDA does not complete independent, pre-market safety testing on GMOs. Instead, it lets the companies that stand to profit from selling them conduct their own tests, and the FDA – which is staffed by former Monsanto employees – signs off on those tests. The American Medical Association believes that this method of approving GMOs and declaring them safe is inadequate, and has called for independent pre-market safety testing.

We do not know the long-term effects of GMO, but are just now beginning to discover the possibilities. The results of a long-term, peer-reviewed study conducted by the University of Caen’s molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini were revealed in 2012. The study tested the long-term health effects of feeding rats, diets consisting of different percentages of Monsanto’s RoundUp-Ready corn. The researchers found that rats fed Genetically Engineered corn and those whose water contained environmentally relevant levels of the herbicide RoundUp, faced the following: 1) Two to three times more large tumors than the control group. 2) Females developed mammary and pituitary gland tumors, suffered pituitary gland abnormalities and hormone disruption. 3) Male rats also developed tumors, but in particular experienced serious kidney and liver damage. 4) 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely compared to 30 percent and 20 percent respectively in the control groups.

Regarding the last statement in the editorial, “Add the potential for starvation to that outcome. About 7 billion people around the world depend on farmers to feed them.” Tclaim that GMOs will feed the world, with higher yields, or that GMOs prevent pest outbreaks and crop failures, has been proven false by numerous organizations and studies. In fact, GMO crops have a history of failing and are creating situations where insects and weeds are building up tolerances, causing outbreaks of what have been called, superweeds and superbugs. Ultimately, this requires greater and greater amounts of increasingly toxic chemicals, instead of less.

As the number of nations banning GMO increases, America’s farmers face the possibility of greater financial hardships as they lose export markets. Recent news stories revealed that GMO wheat, unapproved for commercial use, has turned up in an Oregon farmer’s field. Fearing possible contamination of U.S. wheat crops, Japan has banned imports of wheat from the U.S.

We can expect to see more and more pro-GMO propaganda as we get closer to the November elections, where I-522, an initiative to require mandatory labeling of GMOs, is on the ballot in Washington.

The rest of the story? We are lab rats in a massive corporate/government experiment. We can only pray that America’s future generations are not dealing with the ill health effects of GMO technology that is not being adequately tested before it is being imposed on our children. Time will tell. At the very least we should learn more before allowing widespread growing of GMO crops. food products as containing GMO ingredients is at present our only chance to control what we put into our bodies. No matter what GMO advocates state, we the people, have that right to choose by knowing what is in our food.

Rick McEwan is a professional wildlife photographer who lives in rural Enterprise.

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