Open Letter to the Associated Press

The Kokomo (IN) Tribune published an article from the Associated Press on April 7th about genetically modified (engineered) foods. The headline in the KT was “Food of the future?”; New wave of GMOs: pink pineapples, purple tomatoes.

In my opinion, the article was very biased toward genetic engineering in food. It was completely inadequate in coverage of the risks and concerns about this technology as it applies to crops, feed, and foods. This includes risks for human and animal health and for the environment. The article did not mention there had been no long term testing of the safety of GE foods and that they had simply been declared safe by government decree beginning in the early 1900s. This was over the objections of the scientists within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It did not mention the several lab studies, mostly from outside the United States, that resulted in adverse health conditions in lab animals. It did not mention that 64 nations require labeling of GE foods and several ban them altogether.

Further, there was no mention of the pesticides typically used on GE crops including glyphosate (Roundup) and soon to be dicamba and 2,4,D (a component of Agent Orange). Glyphosate has just recently been designated a “probably human carcinogen” by the WHO: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Glyphosate has been detected everywhere.

In short, you did not do your homework. As the past publisher of the Kokomo Tribune (20 years there) and a holder of a MS Aquatic Toxicology and a PhD in genetics from Purdue, I can tell you the party line from big seed/chemical and food industry is not the whole story by far.

So, please do not drink the Kool-aid from big seed/chemical and food corporations. Do your homework and present a complete picture from both sides. As both one who spent his primary career in newspapers and as a scientist, I conclude this technology, the way it was introduced and the way it is used in agriculture, is both risky and reckless. I strongly believe the public has a right to know what is in food and how it is produced. The industry wants to keep secrets and will spend millions to keep it so.

I go back a long way with the Associated Press and with its once competitor, United Press International (UPI). We depended upon accurate, unbiased, and complete stories.

Regards, Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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