A 2013 New York Times poll found that 93 percent of Americans support labeling genetically modified or engineered food. Those of us who agree with the majority have a Long Island problem.
Last year, five local assemblymen cast votes in committees against Assembly bill A617, which would require labeling of GMO foods. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), David McDonough (R-Bellmore) and Tom McKevitt (R-Merrick) voted no in the Consumer Affairs Committee. Then Assembly members Al Graf (R-Holbrook), Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head), and McKevitt voted no in the Codes Committee, thereby preventing the bill from moving forward in 2015. The bill is being considered again this year.
What’s the argument against letting parents know that baby formulas might be made with genetically modified soy or doused with the weedkiller glyphosate, which the World Health Organization has classified as probably carcinogenic to humans? Or letting shoppers know whether Granny Smith apples, russet potatoes, or salmon steaks are the new genetically modified varieties? What’s the argument when Campbell’s Soup has announced it will label its foods without raising its prices?
There are no rational arguments against transparency. Our elected officials must represent the interests of those who voted them into office, not those of biotech and big food companies. Long Island voters should pay attention to how these representatives vote on this issue this year and keep it in mind at the polls in November.
Editor’s note: The writer is the campaign coordinator for the NY GMO Labeling Coalition.