The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Initiative 522

Real education on GMOs needed

Voters need information! Since January 2013, The Herald has published numerous articles, op-ed pieces, and Letters to the Editor regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the upcoming labeling Initiative 522. Many have addressed the "for" and "against" positions, the money spent, and the concerns expressed by farmers on either side, but so far, none have explained exactly what GMOs actually are. This is crucial information for voters. I have talked with many people about I-522 on GMOs, and all have opinions. What seems to be lacking is knowledge. How can we vote without actually understanding what GMO foods are?
Many people believe that GMO is the same as selective breeding (e.g. dog breeds). It is not. Many people believe that GMO is the same as hybridization (e.g. pluots or mules). It is not. These things are naturally genetically possible. GMO is completely artificial, manual manipulation of genetic material of two (or more) organisms that could never naturally mix (e.g. adding eel genes to salmon or adding genes from an insecticide-producing bacteria to corn). What happens in my body when I eat insecticide? What happens when GMO salmon escape the fish farm and run rampant in the ocean? GMO science is relatively new (less than 50 years old), and no one yet can scientifically and definitively answer these questions.
Would The Herald consider researching and running an educational piece on what the heck a GMO actually is and what it is not? Please help voters understand what we are voting on.
Laura Gurley
Lake Stevens
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.