Pesticides in Our Valley

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Beaverton resident Kendra Wolf has begun an online petition to protest the recent Oregon Department of Agriculture decision to allow 2,500 acres of land to be used to grow GMO (genetically modified organism) canola.

“The introduction of genetically modified canola would not only threaten the livelihood of seed farmers but would also pose serious dangers (such as increased pesticide use and herbicide-resistant superweeds) to the environment,” Wolf says on SignOn.org, the nonprofit site that allows citizens to initiate petitions.

The debate continues as to whether GMO food damages the people who eat it. Meanwhile, Wolf argues that GMO crops, genetically altered to withstand herbicides such as Roundup Weedkiller, cross-pollinate with weeds to create superweeds that are also herbicide-resistant.

This would mean more pesticides for other crops people eat and also harm Oregon farmers who are major producers of the world’s seeds for European cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga and turnips.

Wolf’s petition is directed to the Oregon Legislature. It asks the legislature to stop the Department of Agriculture’s decision from taking effect.

Meanwhile, Initiative I-522, a Washington State petition that would require foods sold in that state to be labeled for GMOs, reached 350,000 signatures and was turned into Washington’s Secretary of State on January 4. The successful collection of signatures means that Washington State is one step closer to making GMO labeling a law.

California voters in the November 2012 election rejected a similar effort, Proposition 37.

About 70 percent of non-organic processed foods contain some — or several — genetically engineered ingredients.

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