, Salem, MA

January 2, 2014

Letter: Where’s the evidence that GMOs cause harm?

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I recently read a letter submitted by Jeff Tanzer (a 9/11 conspiracy theorist; please see 1/5/2010 Salem News), suggesting that all genetically modified foods should be banned. Mr. Tanzer’s letter is completely devoid of any data or evidence indicating that genetically modified foods have caused any illness whatsoever anywhere in the world, ever.

Mr. Tanzer also suggests that “Seventy-five to 80 percent of the processed food you are eating is processed with GMO ingredients”. If this is the case and one believed Mr. Tanzer’s assertion that these foods are dangerous, shouldn’t we be seeing extensive illnesses reported?

Unfortunately, Mr. Tanzer, facts matter. The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Biotechnologies, Agriculture, Food in the European Union concluded the following in 2010: “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society and every other credible scientific organization concurs with this conclusion. Moreover, the American Medical Association stated in 2012, “Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”

Organizations that are campaigning for GMO labeling on food are motivated by one thing, capitalism. They want to play on people’s fears to justify higher prices for the very same, equally safe product. Mr. Tanzer seems completely appalled by “corporate behemoths” with “mega-dollars” for lobbying. Perhaps, he should consider that he is lobbying for regulation that will only result in the justification for an increased price of food further lining the pockets of these “evil” corporate behemoths. Requiring GMO labels on food, suggesting that it is somehow different when all of the credible scientific research suggests otherwise, amounts to false advertising and feeding into a baseless hysteria.

Patrick Lucy