Ore. lawmakers weigh bills on GMO food

SALEM — Oregon lawmakers heard testimony Thursday on several bills to require labels on genetically modified food and prohibit importing genetically modified fish.

Supporters say consumers should know what kind of food they are buying at the grocery store, and genetically engineered fish threaten Oregon’s native fish.

Opponents say labeling foods would stigmatize the products, and the engineering process has been proven safe.

“We have a right to know what’s in our food,” Scott Bates of GMO Free Oregon told the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He said the technology and the process aren’t understood well enough to be sure they pose no health risk to consumers.

But biotechnologist Alison Van Eenennaam told lawmakers that many concerns about genetic modification stem from a misunderstanding or fear of the science behind it.

“The science is not out on the safety of genetically engineered food,” she said. “The science is very definitely in.”

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