I received many copies of the same e-mail from several of my constituents in Kingston and Hampstead. The messages urged me to vote for HB 660 on January 22. This bill would require all the foods sold in our grocery stores to be labeled whether or not they contained GMOs, that is genetically modified organisms.
The Environment and Agricultural Committee, which had nineteen hearings on the subject, were strongly in favor of not passing this bill. They informed us that the decades that GMOs had existed had produced no scientific evidence that GMO’s were harmful to our health. Some on the other side quoted a scientific study claiming a link to cancer. But the committee said that there was only the one article, and the research was so flawed that the journal that published it later withdrew it on grounds that it did not pass peer review.
One example given by a career chemist was sugar beets. Genetic modification of sugar beets enabled them to produce more sugar. When the sugar was extracted it would contain no part of the genetic modification, but if the law passed it would have to be labeled as containing GMO. The effect on our grocers would be catastrophic. They could be fined on every food on their shelves that was not labeled. Our own state food producers would be in a quandary to check every ingredient that they might use in their process.
Testimony disclosed that this was a national campaign to force the federal government to require the labeling, and it was being done on a state-by-state basis. I am against using our state to participate in a campaign brought on by junk science. I would not vote to burden our grocers and producers on a campaign based on emotion and not facts. So, if you check my vote on this, I want you to understand my reasoning. Thank you for your letters.
Rep. Ken Weyler
Hampstead and Kingston