We deserve to know what’s in our food 

Kayla Figard’s coverage of Proposition 37 highlights the gulf between Californians demanding the right to know what’s in our food and corporations desperate to keep the public in the dark (“Difficult choices in the produce aisle,” Sunday). Besides, PepsiCo, Monsanto and the rest of the pesticide industry have put defeating this initiative at the top of their agenda.

As a mother and scientist, I am not convinced by their claims. Ninety-nine percent of genetically engineered crops are designed to contain a pesticide or be doused with chemical weedkillers. This has led to surging herbicide use, contamination of our air and water, pesticide-linked illnesses and millions of acres of farmland infested with Roundup-resistant “superweeds.” It’s no surprise that these crops are the growth engine for the pesticide industry and that their manufacturers are fiercely opposed to Californians’ right to know. Labeling gives Americans the ability to make an informed choice; it begins to restore democracy to our food system.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Senior scientist, ?Pesticide Action Network
San Francisco

 

GMOs aren’t so harmless

I was dismayed by the numerous erroneous assertions made by genetically modified organism labeling opponents that went uncorrected and unchallenged by your paper (“Difficult choices in produce aisle,” Sunday).

While Hawaiian papaya may have survived, the article fails to provide readers with critical context: GMO crops infect natural food grown in nature, not a laboratory, and have increased the use of pesticides, not decreased them.

The story falsely asserts there’s a consensus among scientists and academics that GMOs present no particular hazard without mentioning the sufficient evidence — and an increasing number of studies — raising concerns about their safety.

Worse, opponents’ absurd claim that voters will be scared and confused by one additional nutritional label is offensive.

Furthermore, nearly 50 other nations label GMOs and haven’t experienced a rise in costs — only a more informed public.
And where is the evidence that frivolous lawsuits will result because consumers know what’s in our food? This is a worn-out talking point from big business interests that fear accountability and transparency.

Zack Kaldveer
Oakland

Lee’s tweet in poor taste

Mayor Ed Lee’s tweet concerning Chick-fil-A  (“Same-sex marriage foes rally behind Chick-fil-A,” Thursday) raises concerns about his leadership and ability to unite a very diverse city. His tweet — saying that the closest Chick-fil-A to San Francisco is 40 miles away and he strongly recommends that they not try to come any closer — is insulting to the vast majority of citizens who support traditional marriage.

Intolerant comments intended to incite a reaction from the public show poor judgment and a disrespect for the free speech guaranteed to everyone under the First Amendment. An unnecessary and crude remark from a top elected official.

John Kasper
San Francisco

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