I am very disappointed in the newspaper’s recent editorial opposing a proposed law in Maine to have foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, labeled. The law we currently have requires New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut to do the same. Maine joined in this effort by a unanimous vote of the Legislature and it was signed by the governor. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the other states. Vermont recently signed it into law and the other states are slowly working on it.

The arguments put forth in the editorial remind me so much of the car industry of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. There has not been a single improvement in safety or emissions in the last 60 years that the auto industry has not claimed will lead to their demise.

(And I know someone is going to point to these improvements as the reason they all went bankrupt during the Great Recession. That they did to themselves, with a little help from Wall Street collapsing the worldwide economy.)

The auto industry claimed that leaded fuel was not bad for you and was essential to a car running properly. As we all know, lead is poison. We used leaded fuel for 60 years!

They claimed seat belts were too expensive and that no one wanted them. They claimed anti-lock brakes were too expensive and not safe. They claimed air bags didn’t really help and were too expensive.

All of these improvements made cars safer, but if we had listened to the auto industry we would only see them on imported cars.

Whether GMOs are safe or not is not the issue. Lay’s potato chips list three ingredients: potatoes, sunflower oil and salt. I don’t think any of these ingredients are inherently dangerous — OK, too much of anything is still too much — but they still list them. People want to know what is in their food. Is that too much to ask?

Campbell’s Soup has recently agreed to label its products that contain GMOs. Someone explain to me how they are able to do so when the other companies are claiming they cannot afford to?

More than a hundred other countries label their food. The United States is the only industrialized country to not do so.

Mainers have a right to determine what we eat. To do so we should be able to know what is in our food.

The six biggest agrochemical and biotech seed companies — Monsanto, Dupont, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science and Syngenta AG — spent more than $21.5 million to help defeat a 2012 California labeling proposition.

Companies like Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences should not get to call the shots because they have all of the money. Congratulations to our Legislature for standing up for the people of Maine.

They only have to do one more small thing; stand with the people of Vermont and pass a law requiring labeling regardless of what our neighbors do.

Adam D. Lee, of Cumberland, is chairman of Lee Auto Malls.


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