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Letters: GMO labels would be confusing

A customer scans the expiration dates on gallons

A customer scans the expiration dates on gallons of milk at a Safeway grocery store in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20, 2007. Credit: Getty Images

The New York State Legislature should avoid the mistake of voting to label genetically modified organisms ["A kernel of truth about what we eat," Opinion, May 2].

Scientists at organizations such as the American Medical Association, the Royal Society of London and the World Health Organization agree that genetically improved foods are safe -- even if organic food companies and environmentalists want us to believe otherwise because labels will help their bottom line or their scare campaigns.

Rather than driving up food costs with arbitrary labeling laws, we should reserve labels for things that are actually noteworthy. Otherwise, we risk desensitizing consumers who would see confusing labeling about genetically improved ingredients on 70 percent of the processed food they buy in the supermarket.

Will Coggin, Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: The writer is a senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, focusing on food, alcohol and tobacco interests.

Isn't almost all the food we eat genetically modified, since the time of Gregor Mendel and his experiments crossbreeding peas in the mid-1800s?

What concerns me is the use of hybrid seed. The plants from hybrid seeds do not usually produce seeds that will germinate and provide another year of food for the future.

The abuse of hybrid seed is more important that the identification of genetically modified organisms.

Gene Scanlon, Southhampton