We should know our food is genetically engineered
Those few who know me well should be able to tell you that, generally, I am greatly in favor of genetic engineering.
Those very few who know me extremely well should be able to tell you I think the studied and careful use of genetic engineering will eventually, and perhaps inevitably, lead humanity to its furthest flung, brightest and most hopeful possible future.
In the immediate present though, genetic engineering is just one more (though fairly recently invented and still largely unrealized) tool with which a select few of us may wield to alter this world for whatever reason they wish.
Usually that reason is for immediate monetary gain for the corporation that is able to wield the tool of genetic engineering and there is nothing necessarily intrinsically wrong with this except the goal of immediate monetary gain tends to be a notoriously shortsighted goal.
I agree that enormous potential benefits can result from the complex and thoughtful re-engineering of life.
However, companies such as Monsanto have proved themselves time and again to be unthoughtful, seldom careful and only interested in studying how the plants they engineer may affect their ability to reap profits in the relatively short term.
They do not seem particularly interested in what the long-term repercussions of their genetic work will be decades (or even centuries) later. I am in favor of genetic engineering but, frankly, re-engineering the genetics of a plant to be resistant to a certain herbicide (like Roundup) is totally shortsighted.
Plants we need should be engineered themselves to be more hardy, more bountiful, more drought resistant, more adaptive, faster growing, able to thrive without care, etc.
Engineering a plant to resist a particular pesticide or herbicide that you also just so happen to manufacture is a silly, petty use of genetic technology at best, and potentially damaging to the long-term environment at worst.
While life can be engineered it cannot be easily controlled and can be expected to spread into the wild eventually.
Now, I agree, the fear of “genetically modified” food is irrational but trying to keep people from knowing more about what they eat is also irrationally oppressive.
I will vote “yes” on initiative 522. Culturally, it might be useful for us to get used to knowingly eating “genetically modified” organisms. I have knowingly done so and whether you know it or not so have most of you.