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In the wake of the election there’s more to discuss than the presidential race and the party’s winners and losers. Though it wasn’t on my ballot one thing on my mind this past week has been California’s decision to veto Prop 37, the labeling of genetically modified food. These results prompt me to ask the ever articulate question … huh?
Proposition 37, dubbed The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act would have required food companies, grocers and retailers to label products with genetically modified ingredients as such.
This means consumers could pick up any item on their grocer’s shelves and make a more informed buying decision.
The proposition fell short with just 47 percent of the vote.
The use of the seemingly innocent acronym “GMO” splashed on our food prompted a barrage of negative television commercials and articles in California. For those on the fence or uneducated on the subject this surely influenced voting results.
According to the Huffington Post 60 countries already employ this labeling. (Is it any coincidence that these countries have lower rates of obesity than the US?)
Though it would be irresponsible to ignore some of the pitfalls of GMO labeling such as potential price increase in food products – the transparency and understanding that would be gained from this labeling outweighs these negatives, in my opinion.
Big-time food producers like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Kellogg and General Mills raised nearly 50 million to spread the anti-labeling message. No wonder California vetoes the GMO label.
Who’s surprised? Not us. It’s in these companies best interest to keep consumers in the dark about what they are really putting in their bodies. If they had nothing to hide there wouldn’t be such harsh opposition.
The murkiness of the food industry is long-standing and will not change overnight. In an ideal world we’d all be dining on organic, GMO free fare and living long, healthy lives. We’d go to the grocery store and make well-informed choices.
Heck, we might even decide the GMO corn or Doritos are worth the dollars we’re saving. And that’s fine - the point is the information would be accessible!
What’s so bad about GMOs, anyway?
To put it mildly….“Genetically engineered foods found on market shelves have most commonly been altered in a lab to either be resistant to being sprayed by large amounts of toxic herbicides, or to produce, internally, their own insecticide,” explains Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute
In a simplistic way this debate reminds me a little of how some folks feel about calorie counts displayed at coffee shops and cafes in New York. It’s the type of info that you initially really do NOT want to know ( say what that breakfast muffin is 500 calories?!) But, in the end isn’t the knowledge better for our health… not mention our waistlines?
Ignorance is not bliss, my friends.
Hungry for more? Check out this quick list of foods that are sometimes genetically modified.
A potential glimmer of hope: According to the Healdsburg Patch some votes may still be in the process of being counted. Will the California Veto of GMO labeling stand?
Photo credit: Eatprayfarm