Blame Wheat for Gluten Intolerance, Not GMOs

Re: “For the Love of Carbs,” Food & Drink, Dec. 13

The Butcher’s Daughter sounds like a great restaurant that I will have to try soon, but I would like to refute founder Heather Tierney’s claim that “a lot of the wheat in this country is genetically modified.” Genetically modified wheat has not been approved to be produced in the USA or Canada, unlike corn, soy, salmon, apples and cotton.

That is not to say there have not been recorded instances of GMO wheat being grown experimentally in Oregon and Washington, but GMO wheat is not available commercially yet. She also conflates gluten intolerance with GMO wheat; the two are entirely separate issues. It is alleged that our commercial wheat flours often have additional gluten added, aggravating gluten intolerance symptoms when eaten, but that does not meet the definition of a genetically modified organism.

GMOs occur in the lab when a gene from a different species is deliberately added to an existing gene structure to fundamentally alter the original, as when a gene from the ocean-going pout is added to salmon so that the salmon will spawn twice in one year instead of once, or a glyphosate-resistant gene is added to corn seed so that the weedkiller Round Up can be sprayed on corn without harmful effects.

Please do not infer from my letter that I am pro-GMO, however. The pros and cons of GMOs are a topic for another discussion.

Mona Evans, MS

Consultant Dietitian

Marina del Rey

Help Turn the Tide in the Fight to Stop Plastic Pollution

I am a resident of Santa Monica and currently a freshman at Bennington College. I am enrolled in a course on plastic pollution. Plastic is a growing concern across the planet, and it is good to see that more people are becoming aware of the issue.

You may have read about the dead whale in Indonesia that had over 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach, including a pair of flip flops! How would we feel if that had happened in California? It will happen here if we do not cut back on our daily use of plastic.

We often utilize single-use plastic packaging such as bags, bottles or polystyrene for just a few minutes, but it remains in the environment for decades or longer.

I have a few friends that question life without plastic straws. “Will this really make a difference?” they ask. I always tell them we have to keep pushing to reduce plastic consumption. It will not always be easy, but we must take individual strides to make the big jump into a new world built on sustainability.

When you look at the overall picture, it can feel hopeless. I was waiting for a hero, but recently realized that we as a community are capable of affecting change for the benefit of all living things. Everyone has to be realistic about the amount of plastic used each day. Our world deserves better.

Aubrey Elwes

Santa Monica