Los Angeles City Council Seeks To Ban GMOs

by Rick Orlov

Source: LA Daily News

Citing fears of the impact on the environment and public health, the Los Angeles City Council called Tuesday for a measure to ban the sale and planting of any genetically modified seeds within the city boundaries.

“I want to see all 503 square miles of Los Angeles be a GMO-free growing zone,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who has been working on the proposal for more than a year.

“We are promoting urban farmers, and having a GMO-free zone would help them produce a crop that I think we can market as a Grown in L.A. brand.”

The council approved the proposal on a 13-1 vote, asking the City Attorney’s office to draft the measure. Councilman Joe Buscaino was the lone opposing vote, saying he believed it was beyond the city’s scope of authority.

The measure, if finally adopted, would also ban the planting and sale of fruit plants that are genetically modified.

“Let’s see what this does for our health, for soil health, for pollination — and let’s see what it does for economic development.” Koretz said.

He has argued genetic modification reduces the diversity of seeds, makes food unsafe to eat and is linked to the decline of the bee population.

Supporters of GMO — genetically modified organisms — deny the presence of any harmful effects and say the process has helped increase the world food supply.

The National Center for Policy Analysis said GMO crops are part of a worldwide strategy to combat the deficit between food supply and hunger.

“Global hunger will only continue to increase, and combating it will not be easy, yet the world is fortunate in that a wealth of research is dedicated to the advancement of farming,” said David Weisser, a researcher at the center.

“Through advanced research and new farming methods, hunger can be fought and conquered.”