You are what you eat
So, I have mostly kept my mouth shut about this year’s elections, propositions and questions going to the voters, but I feel like I have to comment on something at this point. Proposition 37 appears to have failed in California. If you don’t know what it was, it would have required labeling of genetically modified foods sold in the state.
Opponents of GMO labeling claim that there is no inherent difference between traditional crops and GMO crops and that labeling them will cause unnecessary fear and bias against the products with GMOs in them. They have also said that labeling will cost the consumer a substantial increase to their grocery bill. Don’t they have to have labels anyways? How much would it cost to add another line to a label that they already have to print? As for the fear and bias, I seriously doubt many people will stop buying certain products just because there is a GMO in the ingredient list. Europe already requires GMO labeling and no significant difference in purchasing has been noticed.
PS. The companies who export products with GMOs to Europe ALREADY print two labels – one indicating GMO ingredients, and another for the US. Tell me if it would be more difficult to print one label or continue printing two…
I don’t know the answer about whether or not GMOs have any long term health issues or not. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Some studies say your body can’t tell the difference between GMO and non-GMO, others have found it causes infertility and other health problems. These studies go either way depending on who funded them, but I do believe everyone has a right to know if these ingredients are being used in their food or not and choose accordingly. Just like I want to know if there are peanuts or trans fats and what vitamins are in the food I purchase. In order to choose, you have to have complete information. How can we really know what’s in our food if the labels aren’t accurate?
And yes, I know, this proposition was up for vote in California, not Virginia. However, if one state requires it, then at least there’s a foot in the door for the rest of us.
There are ways to show that you support labeling in your own state. You can find them here: Just Label It and here: Communicating with Congress
If you’d like to know more, here’s a few links to get you started. You might be surprised by what you find.
- Wikipedia: Genetically Modified Food (I know, I know, not the most reliable source, but it’s just a start)
- Human Genome Project Information: Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- ProQuest Discovery Guide: Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?
- Global Issues: Genetically Modified Food
- World Health Organization: 20 Questions on Genetically Modified Food
- Women’s Health Magazine: Frankenfish and the World of Genetically Modified Food