While The Times has provided some excellent coverage on the genetic engineering issue, I could not disagree more with your conclusion that labeling of genetically altered foods is unnecessary (editorial, Feb. 1). Labeling might be unnecessary, if, indeed, the federal Food and Drug Administration was doing its job. Instead, the FDA has ignored possible health risks. They don't know whether a product is going to cause an allergic reaction, whether it has a reduced nutritional value, or whether it is going to cause some other unexpected harm. Without premarket safety testing, they rely entirely on reports done by the companies that produce the products.
If the FDA is going to conduct experiments by using the entire human population as guinea pigs, the least it could do is to let consumers choose whether they want to participate. Better yet, we should place a moratorium on the introduction of genetically modified organisms into our food supply until we have premarket safety testing and mandatory labeling.
Associate Dir., California
Public Interest Research Group
I am disappointed with The Times' position on the labeling of products that contain genetically modified foods. While it is possible (not proven) that GM foods might be completely safe for human consumption, this is only part of the story. GM crops could potentially have devastating effects on a wide range of other crops, native plant species and animals. I would like to be able to choose not to purchase these products.
JEFFREY KOJI MALONEY
In "Deal Struck to Regulate Genetically Altered Food" (Jan. 30), on the need to reject, or at least regulate, Frankenstein (genetically altered) foods, the statement is made: "One company has engineered a type of rice with Vitamin A taken from daffodils, which could prove important in curing night blindness in people living in developing countries."
Would someone please explain to me why this is a bad thing?