If City Club of Portland says “no” to GMOs, is “no” to vaccines next?

With the anti-science GMO silliness that’s going on at the City Club of Portland, I’m surprised it hasn’t recommended that moms reject vaccinations for their kids. After all, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Charlie Sheen are already on board.


A study committee for the City Club recommended in July that the group endorse a November ballot measure mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in Oregon. The City Club will vote on the recommendation on Wednesday, Aug. 20.


One key element of its reasoning – some consumers want such labeling. If public opinion is to be the primary determinant of whether the City Club endorses a policy, just do a poll and go with the majority. Then they won’t have to do any real independent research.

Of course, even if the City Club did a poll today, that would only tell them what the public thinks at that point. Public sentiment on an issue can shift over time, as the defeat of many once widely supported Oregon ballot measures illustrates.

Good research by the City Club might reveal that the public is really misinformed and being swayed by nonsensical arguments. The fact is, the so-called “collective wisdom” is often wrong. The public does not always have all the relevant information to make an intelligent decision.

Besides, why should the City Club care what other people think. Make up your own mind.

The other principal reason the City Club committee gave for endorsing mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in Oregon is that it would help track the safety of genetically altered foods.

Come on now, folks.

Independent scientific organizations have overwhelmingly concluded that genetically engineered foods pose no health risk.

For example, the National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine) were asked to convene a committee of scientific experts to outline science-based approaches for assessing or predicting the unintended health effects of genetically engineered (GE) foods and to compare the potential for unintended effects with those of foods derived from other conventional genetic modification methods.

The committee’s report found, “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.”

That’s not to say more research isn’t needed. It is. But requiring that all genetically engineered foods be labeled won’t help. More likely, the labeling, in combination with unscientific scare tactics by GMO critics, would simply depress demand for such foods.

But then, maybe that’s what the labeling advocates really want.

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