A lobby group known as “The Right to Know” in California, may have won the battle in the first step towards having genetically modified foods clearly labelled.
If passed, the law will require that all foods that have been genetically modified will clearly display a label stating the fact.
Foods that will be exempt include alcohol and meat. Concerns relating to the environment include cross pollination of organic crops and the possibility of transgenic mutations.
A high-stakes food fight in California is getting more heated. A proposal to require labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients has qualified to appear on the state ballot Nov. 6.
That puts California on the front line of a national fight over genetically engineered crops. Such crops have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria, says Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the California Right to Know group, which launched the ballot measure.
The voter initiative comes 10 years after a similar measure in Oregon failed. Recent attempts to pass labeling laws in Connecticut and Vermont failed in those states’ legislatures.
Supporters say California will be different.
“It took us just 10 weeks to gather 971,126 signatures,” Malkan says. “People have a right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed to our children.”
She says voters are concerned about the possible health effects of genetically engineered foods, such as an allergic reaction.
There could be environmental ramifications as well, Malkan says, such as unintentional crop contamination. For example, pollinating bees could carry the genes of a genetically engineered crop to another field that has organic produce.
Source: USA Today