Letter to the Editor: Why We Need GM Labels

The writer of the editorial believes that, because genetically modified foods have not been shown to cause harm, they do not need to be labeled. For many reasons, this is not true. GM foods should be labeled for the safety of us all.

The fact that no harm has yet been identified does not mean that GM foods are safe. History has shown us that the dangers involved in new technologies are not always immediately apparent. The pesticide DDT, for example, once seemed perfectly safe until it was proven to be hazardous.

And there are potential hazards involved. For example, antibiotic-resistant genes may be added to GM food plants to mark plants that have been genetically modified. When we eat these foods, we also consume the antibiotic-resistant genes, and that may contribute to the spread of disease-causing germs that can withstand our antibiotics.

Even if these foods do not cause harm to us, they may be causing harm to animals. For instance, bee populations have recently decreased alarmingly, both here in the United States and in other countries that allow genetic engineering. Some scientists fear that introducing insect-resistant genes into plants is that is killing off the bees. This could have terrible consequences for the world food supply. Fewer bees pollinate fewer plants and that means there will be fewer new plants. With fewer plants there will be less food for animals, including humans.

It is true that adding labels to GM foods may raise food prices. I, for one, am willing to pay the price. I want to know what is in the food I am buying-and I’m willing to bet most other Americans do too.