Label Genetically Modified Food | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Letters

Label Genetically Modified Food

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As we grapple with real issues concerning food and resources—recently in the United States, the obesity rate of 100 pounds or more overweight went up from 4 percent to 7 percent—we need real solutions.

As a libertarian and conservative, I oppose government interference, such as banning trans fats and oversize drinks in New York City for adults.

At the same time, there are legitimate concerns for knowing what we put in our bodies. We have a right to know what food has been irradiated. All irradiated food should be labeled.

Why do I bring up irradiated food? Simple—we waste too much food, and the wisest thing to do with too much food is to irradiate it. Save it for a natural disaster, which we are facing now because of a poor crop this season.

The last and real issue is genetically modified, and this affects everything. Beginning in 1886 with the discovery of the first virus, TMV, then leading up to the discovery of the structure of DNA and the implications of protein synthesis, scientists have become aware of the consequences of “playing god.”

As an example of one consequence of genetically modified crops, if a genetically modified crop is adjacent to other crops, a breeze might carry the pollen and consequently alter the adjacent field as well.

And we have no idea how a specific gene modification might affect other life, such as if the host is infected with a virus that uses that modified gene to reproduce. At the molecular level we are dealing with unknowns—there are millions of viruses, and we do not know if a gene modification will affect a virus.

I propose a sane solution. Label every specific genetic modification with an identification number. The ID would include the species involved in the modification, the chromosome involved, the gene involved and the genome sequence.

We already have that, the MSDS, the U.S. federal listing of known chemical agents and the health risks.

Obviously, the fact that cities have enacted legislation banning certain size servings to control our obesity is frightening. For example, banning a large-size drink does not make sense—the customer can just order more of the smaller size. Are we that stupid?

DANIEL BARKER
Lakeland, Fla.