Do We Have the Right to Know?
Californians will be voting November 6th on Proposition 37, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Foods Act. It will be asking if 1) it should be mandatory for genetically modified foods to be labeled and 2) foods that contain GMOs no longer be labeled as “natural.”
What is genetically modified food? It is the moving or modifying or insertion of a gene in a plant (or animal) to modify its characteristics. A bacteria gene may be inserted in seed that will make it resistant to pesticides. Changing the genes of a plant will allow insecticides or herbicides to be sprayed on fields that will kill insects or weeds but not the plant.
What’s the harm? What we don’t know is, “Are there any long term health implications of GMOs?” Suggestions have been made that GMOs may be toxic and cause allergies and cause hormone disruption in humans.
If you have eaten anything containing corn, soy, canola, or dairy products, chances are you have eaten GMO foods. The only way to insure you don’t eat foods containing GMO ingredients is to eat foods labeled “certified USDA organic.”
Proponents of Proposition 37 say we have a right to know what we are eating and make informed choices. Those opposed to enacting Proposition 37 say it will drive food costs up for food manufacturers to relabel packaging and manufacturers will be open to lawsuits.
Nearly 50 countries including, Japan, China, Russia and the entire European Union required labeling of GMO foods years ago. Many California farmers and farm labor unions support Proposition 37, making the labeling of GMO foods mandatory. Large food and seed companies have spent millions of dollars in TV and radio ads encouraging people to vote no – GMO foods do not need to be labeled. Chances are, the outcome of Proposition 37 will affect all of us, not just Californians.
What do you think? Should GMO foods be labeled as such?