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Letter: Why would industry fight GMO labels?

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

I take great exception to a recent letter writer's assertion that labeling genetically modified organisms in processed foods may desensitize consumers ["GMO labels would be confusing," May 16].

Sensitivity to and education about ingredients are exactly what consumers need. Reading food labels is an education. Labels allow consumers to make educated choices.

The tobacco and alcohol industries fought labeling for years.

Vermont's governor just signed the first labeling law in the country. Products containing GMOs must be labeled by 2016 in that state. At least 10 other states have bills pending, including New York. Other Northeast states also have passed labeling laws, but industry has successfully lobbied for riders requiring four adjacent states to pass laws before they go into effect.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has announced that it will file suit against Vermont. That group and major corporations have spent millions fighting labeling.

GMO labeling is the law throughout Europe. Russia, China and many other countries have outright banned GMOs.

Should it not concern us that those who promote GMOs are desperate to keep the public from knowing more? Are they not proud enough of their products to boldly promote them and announce their inclusion in foods?

Dan Cignoli, Coram