GMO Labels to be put to vote in California

Photo New York Times May 2012

GMOs are everywhere…at least in the USA
Although many people are not aware of it, almost all the processed food sold in the US contains Genetically Modified Organisms.  This according to an article by Amy Harmon and Andrew Pollack in the New York Times.  If that makes you nervous, it may (or may not) help to know that the USDA has said that GMO foods, such as soy beans, wheat, corn, tomatoes and alfalfa,  are safe for human consumption, saying that they are effectively identical from a health standpoint to their non-GMO cousins.

Not So Fast
At the same time, many scientists beg to differ, saying that there is not yet enough data to determine whether or not GMOs pose a health threat.  Some have gone so far as to suggest that Argo-business has engaged in a massive coverup of research  showing the negative health impacts of GMOs (check out Jeffery Smith’s book  “Seeds of Deception” for just one example).  The Queen of the Sun, a recent film that discusses the shocking deterioration of America’s bee population, strongly suggests that GMOs are at least one possible cause for the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder.

To Label Or Not to Label
Regardless what people believe about the health concerns related to GMOs, it seems that most  support the idea of labeling foods that contain them.  According to a 2010 Thomson-Reuters-NPR poll, 9 out of 10 Americans said they wanted GMO foods to be labeled.  The European Union began requiring labels on food products that contain GMOs in 2003.  Labeling bills have been proposed  (and defeated) in the legislatures of twelve different U.S. states.  According to Jefferey Smith, Argo-industry giants like Monsanto have not only opposed labeling of GMO food, but have also fought labels indicating foods that are GMO free, saying that such labels would act as a stigma for other foods.

People to have a say
This Fall for the first time, a labeling law will be put to a public vote in the U.S..  In November, Californians will vote on a ballot initiative that would require all foods that contain GMOs to be labeled.  Since California’s economy is huge (if it were a nation, California would be the 8th largest economy in the world), any labeling law passed in California is likely to have a correspondingly huge impact on the future of labeling throughout the U.S.

This is a vote to follow very closely.

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