Letter: Good riddance to Act 120

Good riddance to Act 120

Editor of the Reformer:

It is now clear that the food labeling law passed by the Vermont Legislature a couple of years ago has been dismissed. Let us hope that it won't be revived again in any shape or form. I say this because it was just another attempt by the anit-GMO movement to block the use of genetic modification to improve agricultural products, to make them better pest resistant, to need less water, etc. Their methods include relentless accusations against seed and fertilizer manufacturers, trying to scare us from consuming GM foods and having mobs destroy research crops in various countries. As far as I know, they have never produced any scientific evidence to support their claims about the supposed dangers of GM foods.

Many of us have of course never believed them, but unfortunately, not so with Vermont politicians, a majority of whom passed the now defunct food labeling law. What has happened now, however, to further discredit the anti-GMO movement and support us skeptics, is the publication of a letter, signed by 110 Nobel Laureate scientists, really addressed to Greenpeace, but just as relevant to their Vermont friends. In it they are urged to stop their campaign against GMO foods. All evidence from around the world shows that these foods are just as safe, if not safer, than foods produced by traditional methods.

The question is thus really, how do we provide enough food for a growing world population of about seven billion, where millions still don't have enough to eat and many, particularly children, suffer from nutritional disorders? Biotechnology has proved to be an important tool to help us feed the world. We thus have the right to demand from the anti-GMO activists that they give us solid scientific evidence that they have the right answers.

For many Vermont politicians the embarrassing question should of course be, how they could allow themselves to end up on the wrong side of science and the world's foremost scientific minds. Was there really nobody who thought it might be valuable to get some outside expert opinion on this issue? At some of our academic institutions there must be people who could have provided unbiased information. But as we saw in connection with Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant a few years ago, and currently as regards "renewables,' that is wind and solar, as well as "organic" farming, it seems difficult, if not impossible, to have a calm and reasoned discussion. Unfortunately, I often notice whenever these issues come up, Vermonters are being fed misleading or outright false information.

Per Alin, West Dover, Sept. 27


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