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GMOs concern area woman PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 4:47 PM

IRON RIVER—    A local woman is working to tackle a national issue that critics say will affect everyone’s food.
Barbara Robbins is the area representative for Tipping Point Network, a group working to educate the public about genetically modified organisms.
“Our main goal is to educate the public,” Robbins said. “I’m just the local contact person. My job is to provide information.”
Genetically modified organisms are man-made variations of crops that manufacturers claim are drought and disease-resistant. But critics charge they are dangerous for humans and pose long-term risks to farmers and consumers.
“About 90 percent of the people who know about GMOs want them labeled,” according to Diane Lalomia, Michigan Tipping Point Network spokeswoman.
“There are still a lot of people who are not familiar with GMOs,” Lalomia said. “But as the education moves forward, so does the tipping point.”
Cereal crops like canola and corn are among the most commonly modified food, Robbins said. Soy and cottonseed oils are also hard to find unaltered, Lalomia added.
A major concern for anglers and commercial fishermen is a soon-to-be-released salmon dubbed by critics “Frankenfish.” Lalomia said the newly developed fish grows far more quickly than natural salmon but features a voracious appetite that critics fear will disrupt the Great Lakes food chain and threaten native species.
Genetically modified organisms are already banned in National Forests, Robbins said. “Once these things are out there, they can’t be recalled,” she warned.
Already, large corporations like Monsanto have filed suit against small farmers seeking relief under copyright laws when genetically modified seeds have blown into a field using traditional crops.
During the past year, said the Tipping Point officials, a consortium of big agribusiness spent $46 million to defeat Proposition 37 in California. That referendum would have forced manufactures to label foods containing GMOs.
“We learned a lot (from the Proposition 37 effort),” Lalomia said. “Our aim is to get information out. We have to build a base.”
Robbins and Lalomia encourage people contact their legislators about the GMO issue. More information is available at nogmo4michigan.org.