07 Oct

On GMOs, openness is easiest to swallow

Right now, there’s no reason to think genetically modified organisms in food are dangerous to consumers.

But there’s always a reason to let Oregon consumers make that decision for themselves.

Measure 92, on the Oregon ballot in November, would require notification on most foods grown or prepared with GMOs. Similar ballot efforts were narrowly defeated in California, after opponents
led by the chemical industry, spent $45 million, and in Washington, where they spent $22 million.

Opponents say labeling is too complicated, but the world is full of countries that have figured it out.

It’s hard to argue that Oregonians aren’t concerned about GMOs. In this year’s May primary, voters in Jackson and Josephine counties, not exactly hipster hangouts, voted overwhelmingly not for disclosure but to ban GMOs – again despite heavy industry spending.

We shouldn’t ban GMOs. There’s no evidence that they’re harmful, and they seem useful in producing the kind of harvests needed to feed the world. But Oregonians are entitled to know what’s in their food, and to make their own choices.

And a measure to require information is much better than a measure to ban GMOs outright.

There may be no reason to vote against GMOs in our food.

But there’s never a reason to vote against transparency in our decisions.

NOTE: This commentary appeared on KGW-TV, 10/4/14

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