While November 6 is anxiously awaited by many of us (even if it’s for the reason that we’re done with all of the political ads), this year in California, Proposition 37 is on the ballot, and it will have a huge impact if it’s passed.
Prop 37 is a citizen’s initiative which would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered ingredients–or, foods with “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” (World Health Organization)–on food packages, and there are a lot of multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations spending a great deal of money to ensure that this does not pass.
In Europe, the labeling of food that is genetically engineered or that contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is mandatory, and consumers over there are more likely to consume organic or non-GMO products. And many of the companies that would have to produce packaging labeling foods as genetically engineered (GE) would most likely find it economically and logistically difficult to do this just for California, and so would probably have to do so for the rest of the country.
So why are these companies opposed to labeling their foods? If foods containing GMOs are perfectly safe, why are companies like General Mills, Kellogg, and Pepsico spending 23 million dollars to fight this legislation?
There exists conflicting research about GMOs. While the FDA insists that they are perfectly safe, as I mentioned in a previous post, studies have shown increased cancer rates in rats who have consumed food containing GMOs. Plus, crops containing GMOs have yielded “super weeds” and “super bugs.” Over 50 countries in the world have laws regulating the sale and consumption of GMOs, and in some nations they are banned entirely.
Obviously, more research is needed to determine the benefits and risks of eating genetically modified foods, but I see no reason why these foods should not be labeled. We have a right to know the ingredients of our food. Why shouldn’t we be entitled to know whether or not it’s genetically modified, and then send a message by “voting with our forks”?
What about you? Are you concerned about GMOs?
Image / Vichie81