This week is important for Vermonters who want to make informed choices about food for ourselves and our families. The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee, of which our own Dick Sears is a member, is considering House Bill 112. H.112 is about labeling foods produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Concerned people can contact Dick Sears at rsears@leg.state.vt.us to share their views.

Genetically engineered foods are produced by means of genetic engineering laboratory techniques that insert genetic material (DNA) from diverse species of plants, animals, viruses and/or bacteria, into the DNA of plants or animals.

Polls have consistently shown that over 90 percent of the American public believes that genetically engineered foods should be labeled. Sixty-four countries already require GMO food labeling. A number of published scientific studies have raised important questions about the healthfulness and safety of GE foods. Consumers have a right to know what is in the food we buy and to make up our own minds, just as we already have the right to know about calories and where our food come from.

Vermonters have always stood for integrity, sound practices, informed decision making and common sense. Even though we are small, the rest of the nation trusts us to set a sound example. The problems that could abound from GMOs are little understood and cannot be reversed. Please tell Dick Sears that you uphold the public’s right to know, with sound labeling of GMO products. You can also learn more at vtrighttoknowgmos.org.

JENNIFER VIERECK

North Bennington

Thanks to the voters from GBICS

On behalf of the Bennington Free Clinic, thank you to the voters of Bennington, Pownal, and Shaftsbury for supporting the Clinic’s Town Meeting funding requests. These funds will help us pay for X-rays, lab and other diagnostic tests, and pharmaceuticals for our patients.

In 2013, the Free Clinic provided 780 physician and nurse practitioner visits to 426 patients. Of these, 272 were new patients.

All of the Clinic’s doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and lay staff are volunteers. We are grateful to them for their service.

The Bennington Free Clinic is a program of Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services (GBICS), a local non-profit, that also runs the Kitchen Cupboard and the Interfaith Food & Fuel Fund.

Thanks to all for making a difference.

CHARLIE GINGO

Chairman GBICS

Bennington