Following is the letter sent by ASPB President Roger Hangarter, Professor, Indiana University, and ASPB Committee on Public Affairs Chair Pamela Ronald, Professor, University of California, Davis:
October 26, 2004
Mr. Steve Kinsey
President, Board of Supervisors
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
Dear Mr. Kinsey:
The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) urges Marin County voters to oppose local Ballot Measure B and its proposed ban on growing genetically modified crops.
If passed, Measure B would prohibit use of a widely accepted, environment-friendly technology in agriculture. Measure B would promote use of older technologies in agriculture that will subject county residents to increased exposure from chemical pesticides.
Measure B's exemption from the ban for medical research unfortunately does not apply to agricultural research. This failure to exclude agricultural research from the ban will prevent use here of one of the most promising technologies in agricultural research.
A review of the scientific literature shows that genetically engineered foods are safe to eat. For example, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published a study this year which states that "To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population." Furthermore they found that genetically engineered foods and traditionally bred food crops present similar risks. The report can be read on the National Academies web site at http://www.nap.edu/b
Contact: Brian Hyps
American Society of Plant Biologists