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Saturday, March 30, 2013: Food labeling, obstructionism and online pharmacies

A common-sense bill

It is important to do everything possible to maintain health, reduce health care costs and keep the environment safe and healthy. To do that effectively, consumers need to know when they are buying food that contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Please ask the legislators to support LD 718, the bill to label GMO foods. This bill is a common-sense effort to provide consumers the information they need to make informed choices. We have a right to know.

Here are some facts about GMO foods from Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website:

• GMO crops have been engineered, not simply bred, to contain DNA from entirely different organisms so that the crops then have traits that could not be gained through traditional plant breeding. Many crops have been engineered with special bacteria or viral DNA to make them herbicide resistant or lethal to insects.

• Already 62 countries around the world label foods that contain GM ingredients, including all of Europe, Russia, China, India and South Africa.

• A recent poll conducted by MSNBC showed that 93 percent of consumers want to know if they are eating genetically modified foods.

• Five main genetically modified commodity crops — corn, soy, cotton, sugar beets and canola — have byproducts, such as high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, vegetable oil and canola oil, in an estimated 75 percent of processed foods sold in grocery stores.

• Commercial foods already are labeled extensively with nutritional information, country of origin and information about their production.

It is time to add a label for GM contents.

Alice Bolstridge

Presque Isle

Slimy senators

After reading the BDN March 26 article “Partisan fight over LePage’s retirement benefits erupts,” about the governor’s pension, I can think of only one word to describe the actions of Troy Jackson, Emily Cain, Stan Gerzofsky, Dawn Hill and John Patrick regarding the personal attack on Gov. Paul LePage: slimy.

I haven’t used the word “senator” in front of anyone’s name because I have always held the word in the highest regard and respected anyone who held the office regardless of party. But these people have collectively just lowered the standard of respect that all elected people are entitled to and, by doing so, they don’t deserve the title.

It’s time the obstructionists grow up. And as far as retirement pensions are concerned, no elected public servant should receive a pension, ever.

Leroy Bridges

Deer Isle

Oppose LD 449

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill, LD 449, that would make it legal to purchase medications from foreign-based online pharmacies.

On the surface, this legislation appears to be sound. However, many of the “pharmacies” to which this law would allow access are shams.

They receive their supply of medications through extremely circuitous routes of distribution, where the ultimate producer of the medications cannot be easily traced. When it is traced, one is just as likely to have a reputable pharmaceutical manufacturer at the end of the trail as you would have a back alley garage in some developing country.

These unscrupulous manufacturers may or may not include active ingredients in their formula. If they do, often times it is the incorrect amount, so that patients receive too little or too much of the medication.

In addition, medications typically contain a large amount of filler ingredients. Reputable manufacturers select relatively harmless ingredients such as starches or sugars. Counterfeiters have included such things as paint, sawdust, drywall or soap, anything so that they can get the shape, color and consistency as close possible to the medication they are trying to copy.

The Food and Drug Administration was created for a purpose — to protect our citizens from harmful foods and medications. By passing this law, we will be removing a large piece of that protection.

The very lives of the citizens of Maine will be put at risk. Please ask legislators to oppose LD 449.

Rodney Larson


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