Letter: GMO Labeling Is Necessary

To the Editor:

The Vermont act to require labeling of all foods containing genetically modified organisms sold in the state (H. 112) passed the House with a sizeable margin in the last session and is now before the Senate. We need this bill, because GMOs represent a radical departure from traditional food crops, and consumers have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies.

Such a labeling requirement will not be much of a burden on the food industry, since it already has to provide a lot of other information about nutrition and allergies on packaging. Sixty-four other countries, including those in the European Union, Russia and China already require such labeling.

I am concerned about the proliferation of GMOs in our diet for three reasons: a) there is no scientific consensus on the safety of these foods, and many studies outside the biotech industry raise serious health questions; b) despite industry assurances that GMOs would reduce the use of pesticides, U.S. pesticide use has increased five-fold since 1945 and, according to the USDA, an additional 318 million pounds of pesticide were used in the first 12 years of GMO use; c) the spread of GMO crops promulgated by a small number of biotech giants threatens the long-term viability and biodiversity of seeds.

As a baker who grows cereal grains and also buys from regional farms, I am convinced that GMO crops are unnecessary for alleviating world hunger. But if we are going to have them, then we must know about it. Most Vermonters want GMO labeling. Please let your senator know how you feel.

John Mellquist

Trukenbrod Mill and Bakery