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Oxfordians convene to debate safety of GMOs

By Steven Perkins
On March 7, 2014

Family farm owner Rich Drewes said he would try very hard not to let his children eat foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) Monday at an Oxford League of Women Voters debate.

The League of Women Voters is a political advocacy group.

Last week, every local chapter of the League of Women Voters, including Oxford's chapter, met to discuss GMOs and their role in the food industry today.

"I think it's important to understand why farmers go to GMOs," Drewes said. "I would just like for them to have a longer track record before I trust them."

Drewes was one of many Oxfordians to voice their opinions on GMOs. The discussion focused on whether GMOs should be allowed and, further, if they should have to be labeled as such.

Locals in attendance ranged from concerned mothers, who admitted to not knowing much about the topic, to local farmers and microbiologists who came with pages of graphs and charts.

"There have to be pros and cons on both subjects," Sally Southard said, before introducing the moderator and topics of discussion.

The community expressed general concern over the safety of GMOs. One Oxford resident claimed GMOs are not tested for safety. Immediately, a league member, known simply as JK, said he disagreed.

"This is totally, totally, totally incorrect," JK said.

After a moment of tension between the two parties, moderator Jim Rubenstein asked for a new speaker. He reminded the congregation of the purpose of the discussion.

"We're here to decide what, if any, position the league can take on GMOs," Rubenstein said. "Let's remember the rules of discussion, civility and brevity."

After more than an hour and a half at the Oxford Lane Library Uptown, the discussion was brought to an end.

League members have until April 8 to reflect upon the meeting when they will vote on the topic and send the result to the National League of Women Voters.

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