Junk science isn’t behind the push to pass Proposition 37, which would require labels for most genetically modified food. Nevertheless, its proponents correctly point out that the disastrous effects of such substances as DDT and Agent Orange only became apparent years after they were initially cleared for use with scientific backing. Similarly, the effects of genetically modified food probably won’t be fully understood for some time.
The question before the voters is do we want to know what’s in our food, and should we be allowed to choose whether to be participants in a long-term, uncontrolled experiment?
We are better off because we can read the labels on our food and have some idea of what we are eating. Adding information about genetic modifications will increase our ability to make informed decisions.
Kudos to Michael Hiltzik for exposing the anti-science tactics of the movement to label genetically modified food. People and foodhave been genetically modified, naturally, for eons and now, intentionally, for the public good. For example, genetically modified rice with Vitamin A can be a life saver in India and other developing countries, where Vitamin A deficiency boosts infant mortality. Those against the genetic modification of food are like the anti-fluoride groups of the 1950s.
Hiltzik is right in revealing that a peer-reviewed study is not necessarily based on good science. We all need good science and appropriate discussion.
Jerome P. Helman, MD