I am proud of my birth state California for their openness to put a mandatory GMO-labeling initiative on their November ballot. I applied to be on a blogger team to bring awareness about this issue to my audience and invite you to apply as well. The team will work with LabelGMOs.org. This issue affects more than California – as a real food supporter in Colorado I stand behind this initiative. This is HUGE! California has the 8th largest economy in the world. If this initiative passes then this could mark the beginning of the end for the ignorance that U.S. consumers have about the prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms in our food supply. Already steps are being taken for a sister initiative in Oregon.
See a short video from LabelGMOs.org about this initiative.
I write “U.S. consumers” because most of the world is already aware of the unknown risks of engineered food. 40 countries require mandatory labeling including the European Union and China. The risks of engineered foods are unknown so it will still be up to consumers to decide if they want to consume them when they are labeled.
I for one prefer to avoid GMOs for me and my loved ones. I think to basic ecological and evolutionary principles regarding how food has evolved to be a part of our diet. We are not omniscient in thinking we can alter our diet to the genetic level without wondering what it does to us on a genetic (purely genes) or phenotypic (the expression of genes influenced by environment in terms of physical and behavioural traits) level. Unlike evolution that has taken many trials to see if organisms work with our bodies and environment the rate at which GMOs have risen in the marketplace is comparable to sending chaos into the universe and hoping all the trials turn out o.k. Just hoping something does not go wrong is not a risk I want to take for my loved ones.
While I do not think everyone who sees a GMO label will have the same visceral reaction I have about these foods I at least want everyone to have a choice in how much they care about consuming these items. Major food suppliers who create and distribute these organisms are not so ambivalent to see if their customers will be apathetic if they are aware of GMO presence. The biotech industry will be battling this initiative with a well-funded marketing arsenal considering they already have our primary food producers (farmers) on lock down with legal, ruthless tactics. They want consumers to remain unaware or confused about what a GMO or GE (genetically engineered) food is, or to sway the consumer into thinking that knowing about them will only hurt our food supply and cost them a lot of money.
All this initiative would do if passed is provide the consumer with an informed choice about what they are buying. There will be no extra costs, no further intrusion into our homes. Not everyone has to care, but those that do deserve the right to know what is in their food. This state initiative is coming on the heels of the recent FDA decision (March 2012) declaring they needed more time to deliver a ruling on having a federal labeling requirement. Nationally people are supportive of this initiative, it just needs to become law somewhere first. Let California be the first to demand mandatory GMO food labeling.
For the record, the only current way to be sure you do not have GMO food is to grow it yourself and assure your seed is GMO-free, consume certified organic food, or consume certified Non-GMO Project food.
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Disclosure Statement – I am not being compensated for this post in any form. I am not being compensated for applying to join this blogging group. As I begin my involvement with this group this is 100% my free will.