Letter to the Editor

GMO issue is not simple

CambriaApril 14, 2013 

Though I often disagree, Andrew Christie unfailingly does a good job arguing his views, such as in his April 3 letter, in which he took exception to my March 21 viewpoint, “GMO ban would limit choice.” Unfortunately, this time he adjusts context to leave readers thinking my comments just might have been pretentious.

Slightly before GMO crops were introduced, a national organic standard was debated. One contentious issue was possibly allowing GMO crops, just as those developed using radiation mutagenesis and other artificial techniques, into organic regimes. Many at the meeting were attracted by the potential of GMO technology: new crops with built-in protection against insects, diseases and weeds, and with higher nutrition; producing pesticide-free, healthier foods. In the end, a majority rejected GMOs in organic food. And, since that time, activism has undermined that dream. So, yes Andrew. I’d love to see this settled.

But, the GMO issue is not simple. For readers interested in an objective and readable discussion of the evolution of the foods we eat, I would recommend a book by National Medal of Science recipient professor Nina Fedoroff of Penn State University (and, former science adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). It is “Mendel in the Kitchen,” (Joseph Henry Press, 2004).

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