Legislators in the Second Suffolk and Middlesex district will hold a free public forum on the labeling of genetically modified food on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7-9 p.m. at the Watertown Middle School Auditorium, 68 Waverley Ave., Watertown, State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office announced.
The forum features four academic panelists with various perspectives on GMOs. Attendees will hear substantive information on the science, economics, legal and regulatory frameworks, and health and environmental impacts of GMOs. Following presentations by each of the panelists, there will be time for audience questions and comments. The evening is hosted by Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), Rep. Gloria Fox (D-Roxbury), Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Brighton), Rep. John Lawn (D-Watertown), Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston), Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton), Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge), and Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston).
Panelists include Dr. Sean Cash, Tufts University, Economic and Regulatory Aspects of Labeling; Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University, Right to Know; Dr. James Tillotson, Tufts University, History of Agricultural Technology; and Dr. Elizabeth Vierling, UMass Amherst, Science of Meaningful GMO Labeling.
“The desire to know more about how our food is produced is not a new one, and consideration of proposed GMO right-to-know legislation should be informed by an understanding of the successes and pitfalls of existing mandatory and voluntary programs,” said Sean Cash.
“The scarcity and contradictory nature of the scientific evidence published to date does not establish the safety of GMOs,” said Sheldon Krimsky. “Consumers have a fundamental right to choose whether they wish to be part of the experiment.”
“American agriculture has historically embraced new farming technology increasing its efficiency and productivity which has benefitted our citizens with a plentiful and affordable food supply,” said James Tillotson. “Should current public concern over GMOs alter the future march of new farming technology?”
“There is much misinformation about how genetic engineering changes a plant and what that means for human health and the environment,” said Elizabeth Viering. “Unfortunately, GMOs have become the latest ‘cause célèbre’ without people actually understanding what GMOs are. GMOs are not all the same, nor is ‘GMO’ a simple ingredient.”