What others say: Genetically engineered foods should be labeled

  • Tuesday, March 17, 2015 3:43pm
  • Opinion

Alaskans are proud to utilize their state’s abundant natural resources. The meat of our king salmon is prized for its high fat content and our king crab is sought for its versatility and buttery nature. On store shelves, “Wild Alaskan Salmon” is a label of pride.

More and more, there’s a growing movement of Alaskans — and other Americans, for that matter — who see the value in knowing where the food they consume comes from. These days, most consumers rely on food labels to give them that information. They look for things like “Organically Grown” or “Alaskan Grown,” even “Fair Trade.” We’d like to see those labels note when the food includes ingredients that have been genetically modified.

This session, Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, introduced a bill that would require genetically modified foods to be labeled in Alaska. We believe such a law would protect the value of our wild salmon, for example, and help the public make educated choices when purchasing products.

This isn’t an issue of whether or not genetically modified food is healthy, or whether it is safe — there’s plenty of folks who will take up that argument for us.

Simply put, HB 92 gives Alaskans the opportunity to gain a bit more insight into how the foods they buy everyday are produced and what goes into the ingredients list.

In a KCAW-FM news report last week, Tarr explained how she felt about the bill.

“It’s really a consumer-right-to-know issue,” she said in the report. “People want to know what’s in the food they’re eating. And for the folks that have concerns about GMOs and want to pick foods without genetically modified ingredients, this gives them the opportunity to read through that ingredient list and choose the product they want to buy.”

According to the Center for Food Safety, 64 other industrialized nations around the world require some kind of genetically engineered food labeling. Some of those countries include member nations of the European Union, Brazil, Australia, Russia, China, South Africa and Turkey.

The U.S. is not on that list, and it should be.

Currently, there are two co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Scott Kawasaki and House Minority Leader Chris Tuck, but the bill has yet to see any support from Republicans.

We’d like to see HB 92 gain some traction because consumers have a right to know, and resources like our salmon deserve protection if their genetically modified cousins make it to market.

— Juneau Empire,

March 15

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