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?





  1. Gina Jay

    I think gluten should be added into the mix of genetically modified foods. I believe I read in a health magazine from Nutrition Works, that there is now three times as much gluten per wheat ratio compared to wheat’s normal makeup. Gluten is difficult to digest normally (which normally makes it a good fiber). But it could be entertained that more gluten per wheat ratio could possibly lead to gluten intolerances and/or allergens, due to inability to break it down in the gut. Gluten is hidden in many foods (flavored beverages, salad dressings, soups, cured meats, many restaurant french fries, seasonings, medications, etc.), other than the obvious starch foods, so it is possible to be “glutened” all day long in the American diet. Given the recent rise in gluten intolerance it makes you wonder if it is just because there is more awareness or if it is in fact due to genetically modified wheat (too much gluten overload to the gut.) I agree that organic is the best way. It is too bad it is so expensive!

  2. Jody Perrecone

    Good comments! Many people are gluten sensitive or intolerant, possibly because it is diagnosed more often now than in the past. For some, however,
    gluten is not a problem. There has been discussion, as you noted, that GMOs may be a factor in increased insensitivity.