I am writing to support Vermont legislation that requires labeling genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in our foods. In both the Senate and the House, bills have been introduced titled An Act Relating to Food Produced With Genetic Engineering, aka H.112 and S.89. I do not want the Legislature to wait until other states have passed similar legislation for fear of legal backlash from big ag companies like Monsanto.
I am a consumer who wants to avoid pesticides and other additives in my food. Recently, though, I have discovered a terrible reality: Because of inadequate labeling, it is almost impossible to avoid buying foods with genetically engineered, or GE, ingredients.
An estimated 75 to 80 percent of processed foods sold in the U.S. are produced using GE ingredients; yet, published international studies reveal that there may be health and environmental risks associated with the consumption, as well as production, of GE foods. The FDA does not require independent studies of GE foods; GE food producers themselves decide what information to provide to the FDA and to us consumers. In other words, the FDA cannot be relied on to protect us regarding GE ingredients in our foods.
Food producers are not required to label GE foods. Until recently, I assumed that foods labeled “organic” would be free of GMOs. Alas, foods labeled “organic” are not required to have all organic, non-GMO ingredients. For instance, unless specifically labeled non-GMO, the sugar and soy lecithin in “organic” brands of rice milk are more than likely to have been genetically engineered.
It is my right to know what is in my food. I believe that everyone has the right to know what is in his or her food, and that we should not be forced to buy more expensive brands of food in order to try to avoid what we fear may be unsafe ingredients.
I believe that Vermont can and should lead the nation on this issue. We cannot cower in the face of corporate money and power; we must find the means to secure our right to feed ourselves and our children as safely as possible. It is in Vermont’s best interest, indeed, the basis for the state’s wholesome image, to safeguard both the health and integrity of its people.
Those concerned about GMOs in your diet and your children’s diet can become informed through the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition website, www.vtrighttoknow.org. At the very least, let friends, neighbors and our legislators know your concerns.
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