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Letter: Faulty arguments against labeling bill

Re “Labeling will drive up food prices” (Ben Fluery, Monitor letter, Nov. 5):

Labeling genetically engineered food will not make food more expensive. This was made clear on Oct. 15 in testimony before the Environment and Agriculture Committee presented by businessmen. This fact is also supported by a study from Emory University. House Bill 660, the GE labeling bill, does not require the labeling of all food – for example, food in restaurants – because of practical, economic considerations which were presented during recent legislative hearings.

Fluery states that genetically engineered foods must be safe because the FDA and geneticist/biotech advocate Val Giddings, who worked for the biotech industry, says they are safe. His faith is misguided. The FDA does not independently test genetically engineered food products. It relies on companies like Monsanto to do their own testing and report their results to the FDA. Please note that Monsanto is the same company that brought us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange.

As to the “precision” of genetic engineering to which Fluery refers, this, too, is a myth. The scientific knowledge of the results of gene transfer is still far from complete, and the unintended consequences of gene transfer remain a clear, present and not fully understood challenge.

HB 660, the bill requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food, recognizes the limits of our knowledge, the need for independent testing, and the right of all of us to know what is in the food we eat. I know Rep. Maureen Mann would be happy to answer questions on HB 660.

JANET WARD

Contoocook

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