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California Wins a Battle in the GMO War

The voters of California will decide if they want their GMO food labeled. The voters of California will decide if they want their GMO food labeled.


The fight to label GMO products is the latest in a string of legislative actions against big GMO producing corporations. In what seems to be a major victory, the California Office of Secretary of State announced the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, a GMO labeling initiative.

If the measure passes, it will make California the first state in the United States to instate a GMO labeling process wherein all GMO ingredients have to be labeled as such.

For many years, much of the GMO industry was shrouded in secret. No consumer scales existed to find out what foods were actually GMO grown. The public was kept in the dark with GMO brands fighting fierce legal battles to avoid labeling of their products.

In Europe, all products containing more than .9 percent GMO are labeled. China and Japan also require labeling. Alaska requires labeling of GE fish and shellfish, making it the only U.S. state with even a minor labeling law. As for the rest of the U.S., which is the largest grower of GMO foods, there is no required GMO ingredient transparency.

Proposition 37, which will appear on the November elections ballot, aims to change that. LabelGMOS.org, the organization responsible for helping bring this proposed change about, writes:

"We believe our right to know what we are buying and feeding ourselves and our kids supersedes corporate rights to a nontransparent profit. We are tired of elected officials buckling to corporate pressure over the clear desires of us, their constituents. We are outraged that we don't have the same right that over 40% of the world's population has: A clear, transparent market with genetically engineered ingredients disclosed in a simple, easy to read way."

LabelGMOS.org encourages people to contact their local leaders so that when the time comes, the bill is signed into law.

Most major food corporations oppose labeling, citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirement that engineered ingredients only be labeled if they represent a change to nutritional value or consumer safety levels.

Meanwhile, 92 percent of Americans want the FDA to label GMO foods, according to various polls conducted throughout the states.

Critics of the bill state that GMO labels are a pointless effort because GMO foods will continue to feed people all over the world. Supporters say that the labels are about giving consumers a choice.

Advocates, supporters and law makers are waiting until the November elections to see what happens next.

GMO labeling is an issue that concerns all of us, from farmer to mothers who wish to raise healthy children. It is important to become a part of the community that wants to give consumers a choice: To buy GMO or skip it in favor of organic options. The GMO battle is not just about healthy, non-artificial food. It is about the right to have transparency when it comes to corporate business and the individual choice to reject it.

In order to be heard, supporters are encouraged to visit http://www.facebook.com/labelgmos or http://www.labelgmos.org to learn about this issue, volunteer, or donate resources. Otherwise, find your local leader on this map and email them about your support for Prop 37!

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Californians may finally get the GMO labels they've wanted for so long.
Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2012 15:20

Laura Vladimirova is a freelance journalist currently based out of New York City. Years of long-term travel abroad have made her a passionate lifestyles writer. Her favorite subjects include art, people, archaeology, travel, cultural events, health, and green living. When she's not typing away at her keyboard or getting her passport stamped, she's probably enjoying the great outdoors.

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/LauraV

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