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February 14, 1986

"Strawberry Rhubarb," indeed! I refer to your editorial (Feb. 2). It is the simple-minded, presumptive acceptance of the adequacy of laboratory testing and theoretical consideration that led to the use of DES hormone in our pharmacopoeia, and the development of nuclear reactors.

It was simply not known how dangerous the drug was going to be to generations yet unborn, and Three Mile Island wasn't supposed to happen. In a similar fashion, it can be unequivocally stated that the long-term effects and mutation of an organism that has not yet developed with the benefits of evolutionary influences must be unknown.

It is not possible to underestimate the dangers of such a precedential step. Apparent success in the short term will only encourage further introduction of unnaturally created organisms into the biosphere until the inevitable disaster occurs.

Do we really need a frost-resistant bacteria? Are strawberries so essential to our health that we are willing to take such action? Can anyone seriously contend that economic motives are not behind this foolhardy development?

Must we continue to subdue nature rather than cooperate with it? Don't we ever learn from our past mistakes? Is human benefit the real measure of everything?

I used to like strawberries, but the last thing I will ever do is eat one that has a manufactured bacteria on it.


Granada Hills

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