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Letter: We have a right to know what’s in the food we buy

We have a right to know what’s in the food we buy

Labeling genetically modified organisms has become a heated subject. Last year, a labeling bill received support but was voted down at the last moment. The bill, with revisions, was reintroduced this year. According to polls, 90 percent of the public wants GMOs labeled. Currently 64 countries label genetically engineered food, including nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China.

With our global food industry crisscrossing the world, it must be easier to label all foods rather than have separate labels for foods destined to the United States.

Reasons presented for not labeling include decreased choice, preventing farmers from growing crops or criminalizing retailers. Not true! Food labels allow transparency. Labels give you knowledge of what’s in your food. They make it possible to make a choice. Labels ensure accountability. Labels do not stop farmers from planting any crop. The vast majority of crops are not even GMO. (Corn, soy, canola and sugar beets are mostly GMO.) The revised bill gives protection to third parties/retailers from liability if food producers/suppliers give false information.

In a recent Viewpoints article, University at Buffalo professor Mark O’Brian pointed out a study that found making changes to crop rotation and utilizing legumes and manure appropriately can lead to a tremendous decrease in herbicides (85 percent), fertilizer (100 percent) and freshwater contamination (99.5 percent). This is cheaper, cleaner and healthier than engineering crops to withstand multiple-blanket dosing of the herbicide glysophate (Roundup).

We don’t need Big Ag to tell us what to eat. Big Ag should not determine what gets labeled. We have a right to know what is in our food. We have a right to choose.

Eveline Hartz, R.N.

Clarence Center