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LA Weighs Ban on Genetically Modified Organisms

By Cathy Burke   |   Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 10:40 PM

Los Angeles is considering a ban on the cultivation, sale, and distribution of genetically modified organisms that would make the city the largest GMO-free zone in the nation, reports say.

City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mitch O'Farrell on Friday introduced a motion to curb growth and proliferation of GMO seeds and plants within the city, The Huffington Post reported.

It wouldn't affect the sale of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

"We don't want to consume mystery food," O'Farrell told The Huffington Post. "Since there's currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that's irresponsible."

Genetically modified organisms have DNA altered by genetic engineering; genetically modified seeds are used mostly by large farms.

"If they become marketed to home gardeners, we're going to have this ban in place," David King, head of Learning Garden and Seed Library of LA, told The Huffington Post.

Koretz said that "a growing number of problems are being traced to GMOs." He cited "the evolution of 'superbug' insects which are growing immune to the pesticides engineered within GMO crops" and "seed drift" -- including the recent finding of GMO-pollinated wheat growing in an Oregon farmer's field.

Proponents of genetically modified organisms — such as food, biotech and chemical companies — say there's no research proving modified food has less nutritional value than non-modified food.

They also point out that genetic modification allows for insect- and weather-resistant crops that can help meet a rising global food demand.

An international group of more than 90 scientists, academics and physicians released a statement early this week saying there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs for humans, as proponents such as Monsanto attest, and that any GMO cultivation should take internationally approved precautions, RT.com reported.

Washington state next month will vote on a ballot initiative that calls for labeling food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

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