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A right to choose | Letter
I write to express concern about a local political issue and to briefly describe how recent events in my life might pertain to a ballot choice we face in Washington state. First, I must say that I am not a political radical. I am a former employee of the U.S. executive branch with a top secret security clearance and have worked for the last several years as a middle school science teacher in our community. In other words, I am not a flag-burning hippie.
After years of significant health issues, including systemic collapse (rapid drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness), I was diagnosed with food allergies. I completed a battery of allergy tests with a local MD and have removed the following foods from my diet: soy, corn, wheat, dairy, tomatoes and beef. Sounds like a strange list, doesn’t it? I was puzzled and decided to investigate what feature of these foods might trigger such a strong immune response.
I remembered a similar list from a classroom debate we had done on genetically modified crops two years ago and decided to revisit some of scientific sources. What I found is that food producers currently don’t have reliable scientific support (objective testing over time with significant sample sizes) to integrate these foods into our food supply without concern for environmental or biological consequences. While I can’t be sure if the modified genes in the foods to which I am allergic are the cause of my health problems, I am suspicious. Since eliminating these foods completely, I have enjoyed a restored immune system, normal and sustainable blood pressure and no further gastrointestinal problems. In addition, I lost 20 pounds, although I would rather have chosen an exercise routine to do so!
My point is this, when buying a computer, I can decide which model, operating system and software I will install to tailor the machine to suit my needs. As a consumer of food, I have a similar right. I have the right to choose which brand and type of food I will ingest. I choose for taste and for the biochemical impact on my own system. I do not contend that GMO products should be banned. We have a burgeoning world population, primarily in urban areas, and need creative, scientific ways to adequately supply food and energy. The labeling of GMO food products just makes sense. No one will force you to purchase these foods, unless you vote no on I-522. As I make my choice in the upcoming election, I will vote to uphold my choice in food selection. I hope you will join me.
Catherine Johnson, Redmond