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Consumers want to know their food is safe, she says. Genetic engineering is an experimental technology. DNA from one species is forced into an unrelated species, explains Westgate. Bacterial and viral genes, plant and animal genes are combined in ways that would never occur in nature. “That creates real instability in the DNA and we really don’t know what the long-term impacts are on human health.” GMO critics point to animal studies as indication serious risks relating to reproduction, immune system problems, organ damage, and gastrointestinal problems.
Another GMO trait worrisome to consumer advocates and those pushing for state mandatory labeling laws is that an estimated 80 percent of all GMO crops grown worldwide are herbicide tolerant. Their seeds are engineered to absorb herbicides. When they cross-pollinate, by wind, rain or insects, non-GMO crops are infected. Again, author Jeff Smith: “We don’t have a way to return the gene pools, corn for example, to the pristine natural state. The genetically modified corn has already contaminated the indigenous varieties in Mexico which is the world heritage source of those genetics.”
Smith has given more than 50 talks in California over the last three months in support of Prop 37. As pro and con ads flood the airwaves, he says, people are becoming agitated and educated. “Irrespective of the outcome, the tipping point is gaining speed and gaining momentum.” Twenty-nine groups in states around the country, including Hawaii, Connecticut, and Wisconsin, are preparing to introduce similar bills. But the outcome in California and in Washington, if Initiative 522 gets on the ballot next year, may start to change what America eats.
Green Acre Radio receives support from the Human Links Foundation. Engineering by CJ Lazenby.
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