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Food fear could lead to out-of-control labeling

Food fear could lead to out-of-control labeling

By Mike Barnett

Over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on food containing DNA.”

So says a recent survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agriculture Economics, as reported by The Washington Post. And it’s the same numbers that support labeling of GMO foods.

According to Oklahoma State Economist Jayson Lusk, a government-imposed label on foods containing DNA might look something like this:

WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both humans and animals. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children.

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GMO state labeling initiatives are shut out

GMO state labeling initiatives are shut out

By Gene Hall

There were two mandatory labeling issues for GMOs on state ballots Tuesday. Both were defeated.

In Oregon, the labeling measure was barely turned back with a 51 percent “no” vote. In Colorado, it was much more decisive with a 66 percent “no.”

In Hawaii—Maui to be exact—there was a local initiative to ban growing GMO crops altogether. It passed. As yet unexplained is the rationale, because these votes are not based on anything rational. GMO papaya is resistant to ringspot virus, and the non-GMO kind probably can’t be grown there. But hey, that’s someone else’s problem, right?

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Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to food

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to food

By Mike Barnett

A recent post on Facebook explains a lot about the confusion over food.

It’s called ignorance.

Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. People generally are not stupid. But a whole lot of them have a lack of knowledge or information. That’s called ignorance.

This was displayed on a video segment  posted about GMOs on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night television show. In that segment, Kimmel asked people on the street if they wanted GMOs in their food. Then he asked them if they knew what GMO stood for.

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Livestock study uncovers exactly zero evidence of GMO harm

Livestock study uncovers exactly zero evidence of GMO harm

By Gene Hall

The head of the Genetic Literacy Project, John Entine, writes recently in Forbes magazine that a pair of animal science researchers studied evidence of livestock feeding before and after the introduction of genetically modified grain. What did they find? Nothing—no evidence of any difference in feeding GMO grain to livestock.

Science has, of course, concluded the same long ago, but we have to keep explaining, I guess. I’ll take a turn. University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young reviewed 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed.

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Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

By Gene Hall

It’s always refreshing to see a legal matter settled on the basis of law and fact rather than emotion, overheated rhetoric and political theory. This was the case in Hawaii a few days ago when a federal judge ruled against Kauai County’s aggressive and anti-farmer Ordinance 960.

It’s not that silly laws never win in court, but this one, sillier than most, was turned back, though on more narrow grounds than I believe were justified.  Kauai County Ordinance 960 was passed some months ago with very strict curbs on many agricultural practices and the agribusiness firms that operate there. Included were restrictions on pesticide use and biotechnology, or GMOs if you will. The trouble is, that’s the state’s job—one that Hawaii performs aggressively.

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GMOs: It’s all in the name

GMOs: It’s all in the name

By Mike Barnett

Genetically modified organisms. GMOs.

I’m not sure who thought up the nomenclature for this biotech wonder, but the acronym GMO probably contributes more to public fear and misunderstanding than anything else.

GMO. It sounds scary. Genetically Modified Organisms. That’s even more frightening. Those are words and phrases activists can hang their hat on, and let me tell you, they’ve done one fine job of hanging hats.

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