Voters need information! Since January 2013, The Herald has published numerous articles, op-ed pieces, and Letters to the Editor regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the upcoming labeling Initiative 522. Many have addressed the “for” and “against” positions, the money spent, and the concerns expressed by farmers on either side, but so far, none have explained exactly what GMOs actually are. This is crucial information for voters. I have talked with many people about I-522 on GMOs, and all have opinions. What seems to be lacking is knowledge. How can we vote without actually understanding what GMO foods are?
Many people believe that GMO is the same as selective breeding (e.g. dog breeds). It is not. Many people believe that GMO is the same as hybridization (e.g. pluots or mules). It is not. These things are naturally genetically possible. GMO is completely artificial, manual manipulation of genetic material of two (or more) organisms that could never naturally mix (e.g. adding eel genes to salmon or adding genes from an insecticide-producing bacteria to corn). What happens in my body when I eat insecticide? What happens when GMO salmon escape the fish farm and run rampant in the ocean? GMO science is relatively new (less than 50 years old), and no one yet can scientifically and definitively answer these questions.
Would The Herald consider researching and running an educational piece on what the heck a GMO actually is and what it is not? Please help voters understand what we are voting on.