LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A proposed ordinance that would ban the sale and growth of genetically modified crops in Los Angeles was rejected by a 3-2 vote of the City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee.
Committee members Joe Buscaino, Gilbert Cedillo and Tom LaBonge said not enough study has been conducted on the idea and the costs of enforcing the ban is still unknown.
They also noted it is not the city’s place to make decisions on whether genetically modified crops should be sold and grown in the city.
“We’re not the seed police,” said Buscaino, who cast the lone vote in October against drafting the ordinance. At the time, the idea was backed by 13 other members of the 15-person City Council, with one other member absent for that vote.
While he opposes GMOs, “the city of L.A. is not the appropriate level of government to regulate this,” Buscaino said. The city should leave the decisions to state and federal agencies, he said.
The ordinance is being pushed by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell, who chairs the committee. They cast the yes votes on the committee.
The panel ignored statements by the ban’s supporters that time is short for the city to take action on the issue. A state law going into effect Jan. 1 will bar cities from instituting bans against the sale and cultivation of genetically modified crops.
A city ban of the growth of genetically modified crops would be largely symbolic, because no GMO crops are being grown in Los Angeles.
However, it would prevent any future sale and cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, which may include patented, lab-created varieties of corn, soy and other plants designed to be resistant to pests or survive weed-killing agents.
Koretz contends genetic modification reduces bio-diversity, makes food unsafe to eat and is linked to the collapse of bee populations. GMO supporters contend that genetically modified crops help feed people.
They deny any health risks associated with GMOs, which are regulated in the European Union, Australia and Japan.
Koretz said more than 90 scientists in Europe came together last year to issue a statement that rejected a consensus on the safety of GMOs.
The statement dismissed the idea that “the debate on the topic is over,” he said, and suggests that “the pesticide companies have been conducting an unscientific scientific experiment on us since the early ’90s, without our consent.”