Letter: Separate the paid ads from news articles

The article on GMO labelling in the Oct. 6 issue of the Shuswap Market News is a piece of paid opinion, not news. The private company that authored the article is paid to produce content for organizations or companies, and to place them in small newspapers disguised as news.

The article is filled with misleading statements like this one “most foods aren’t actually GMO at all.”

The list of currently approved GE crops is almost accurate, although the Arctic Apple is now approved.

What it doesn’t say is that GMO corn, soy and sugar are found in almost every processed food in one form or another, whether oil, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), lecithin or sugar. They are not easily distinguished when they are part of the long list of ingredients. The article claims that “extensive testing” proves the safety of these foods – but almost all of this testing is done by the companies themselves, as they prohibit unbiased outside research.

The small amount of research that has been done outside the companies does in fact indicate serious health risks and environmental risks, as GE crops have led to contamination and rising rates of resistance to hardcore herbicides and pesticides.

In addition, the article implies that genetic engineering is the same as traditional plant breeding.

It most definitely is not, and GMO advocates are happy to talk about how different it is when they are speaking to scientists, while claiming that it’s the same as traditional breeding when promoting GMOs to the public.

I am embarrassed to see this article in our local newspaper. Please ensure that paid promotional writing is identified as such if you must use it.

Rebecca Kneen

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