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24 Feb 2013 - Technology & Science vs. Emotion on GMO Labeling Continues

I’m in Phoenix, Arizona this week and a few days ago I emceed a program for the Phoenix Agricultural Club. One of the topics on the program dealt with mandatory GMO food labeling. On the program to discuss it was Jamie Johansson of the California Farm Bureau. He was very active in the fight in California last year that defeated Proposition 37 which would have required mandatory labeling in that state.

Jamie said. . . “This battle will not go away, it’s going to show up on other state ballots.” He is correct, already they are talking about it in Hawaii, Washington state and this week a group in Idaho said it is going to work to get mandatory GMO labeling legislation. Leslie Stoddard, who is co-founder of ‘GMO Free Idaho’, said the group is gathering facts and support now and will pursue mandatory GMO labeling in the next legislative session.

Leslie said, and I quote . . . “We have a year to rally the troops, educate, get some press and get this legislation going. What bothers me most is this statement on their website… ‘GMO Free Idaho is dedicated to eliminating GMO’s from our food supply.’ My reaction to that is they are selfish and uncaring if they want to eliminate technology from our food supply.

It tells me they really don’t care about the millions of people in other countries who go to bed hungry every night. They would see less food if the technology we’ve developed isn’t used to produce more healthy and nourishing food for a growing world population. It also tells me they have little concern for the environment because, thanks to GMO technology, we are able to produce much more food on fewer acres, which means we don’t have to plant the fragile acres that are subject to wind and water erosion. That’s good for the environment. But apparently they don’t understand that or just choose to ignore it.

I recently asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to comment on the GMO Food Labeling issue and I liked his response . . . “There are just two reasons to label food; one is to provide nutrition information, the other is to issue a safety warning.” He said . . “Scientific research and studies have thus far proven there is no health danger in GMO food. We do not need mandatory labeling and the last thing this world needs is to eliminate technology from agriculture.”
To that I say, Amen!

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