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posted: 9/24/2013 5:00 AM

States should decide on modified food labeling

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Since 1997, the European Union has mandated genetically modified food labeling -- enabling its citizens to make educated decisions about what they eat. This has probably contributed to the fact that Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Finland, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal among many other countries, lead the U.S. in life expectancy.

If we hope to improve our health statistics, we need to start with improving the quality of our food. Which is why, I am shocked and appalled by Sen. Dick Durbin's vote against states' rights to label genetically modified organism foods (GMOs). Instead of serving his constituents with laws encouraging public safety and justice, Sen. Durbin is trying to serve us genetically modified foods against our knowledge -- foods that may promote increased toxicity, food allergy, decreased nutritional value and antibiotic resistance. Scary picture.

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More than two-dozen states have introduced, or are planning to introduce, GMO labeling laws. Connecticut and Maine just passed the country's first GMO labeling laws. Vermont and Washington residents will soon be able to choose between GMO and non-GMO foods as well. Why shouldn't Illinois constituents enjoy the same rights?

Farah Abid, M.D.

South Barrington

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