Los Angeles Could Become the Country’s Largest GMO-Free Zone

October delivered two major victories in the fight against genetically-engineered foods: Mexico announced an immediate ban on planting GMO corn, and the big island of Hawaii County Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that prohibits open air cultivation and testing of genetically engineered crops or plants.

As the month draws to a close, it appears that the good news will continue.

Two Los Angeles City Councilmen have introduced a measure [PDF] that would ban the growth, sale and distribution of genetically engineered seeds and plants within the city limits. If passed, Los Angeles would have the illustrious honor of being the country’s largest GMO plant-free zone.

The councilmen, Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell, say they proposed the ban in the hopes of protecting local gardens and homegrown food from GMO contamination. ”We don’t want to consume mystery food,” O’Farrell told The Huffington Post. “Since there’s currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that’s irresponsible.”

The proposal in America’s second-largest city is an interesting attempt to regain some of the ground lost when California’s Proposition 37 was defeated last year. Prop 37 was a historic ballot initiative that would have required labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in California. Unfortunately it was narrowly defeated after companies like Monsanto dumped millions of dollars into voter misinformation campaigns.

To be clear, the ban proposed by Koretz and O’Farrell would only pertain to the cultivation of genetically modified seeds; it would not affect the sale of food containing genetically modified ingredients, as nearly all of those are grown or produced far from Los Angeles. It would however, send a powerful message to biotech companies.

“The pending ordinance would be symbolic more than anything else, but we do feel it’s an important step to have the second-largest city in the nation declare itself as against genetically modified seeds,” David King, head of Learning Garden and Seed Library of LA, told HuffPost.

The LA proposal comes just weeks before Washington State will vote on I-522, its own mandatory GMO labeling law. Like California’s Prop. 37, Monsanto and major food brands have already spent over $7 million to defeat the measure.

Image: waywuwei

118 comments

Robin W.
Robin W.1 years ago

This is specifically to address what Christopher W. stated about farmers and growing food... GMOs are NOT hybridized or pollinated!

They shoot either a bacteria or virus into the DNA of a plant, such as corn. Then they place an antibiotic in this same gene, then they are adding (like Monsanto does) glyphosate or even trout DNA (into the DNA of a DIFFERENT SPECIES altogether).

This is NOT centuries of knowledgable farmers cross breeding or hybridizing THE SAME SPECIES to get the traits they are looking for... THIS IS FRANKENFOOD manufactured in a Lab's Petri dish and then unleashed on Nature, Human beings & animals WITHOUT a shred of adequate or long-term research to determine whether it's safe to consume. THERE IS A BIG difference...

Robin W.
Robin W.1 years ago

This is specifically to address what Christopher W. stated about farmers and growing food... GMOs are NOT hybridized or pollinated!

They shoot either a bacteria or virus into the DNA of a plant, such as corn. Then they place an antibiotic in this same gene, then they are adding (like Monsanto does) glyphosate or even trout DNA (into the DNA of a DIFFERENT SPECIES altogether).

This is NOT centuries of knowledgable farmers cross breeding or hybridizing THE SAME SPECIES to get the traits they are looking for... THIS IS FRANKENFOOD manufactured in a Lab's Petri dish and then unleashed on Nature, Human beings & animals WITHOUT a shred of adequate or long-term research to determine whether it's safe to consume. THERE IS A BIG difference...

Christopher Walker

The whole argument is rather absurd if you consider that farmers have been modifying crops and animals since the beginning of AG. Whether you call it husbandry or Frankencrops its, all the same thing. LA would need to ban all cultivated food within LA proper to meet their own requirement.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Thanks

Ruth R.
Ruth R.2 years ago

Thank you for the post.

Janet Gibbon
Janet G.2 years ago

I haven't come across anywhere that openly wants to have GMO in the fields or shops. The US and UK bang on and on about democracy yet don't listen to their citizens unless forced to do so. We are more often than not subjected to the exploitation of big business, not protected from it. It's time to ask ourselves what the true purpose of government is and thoroughly examine their actions to see if they are fulfilling their purpose.

Tara Lima
Tara Lima2 years ago

LA always takes the lead with health and environmental issues. I think it has a lot to do with the many celebrities and other wealthy people who maybe have more sway in politics. it only takes one state to make a change and the rest will soon follow!

Janis K.
Janis K.2 years ago

Hope we can all get here.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand2 years ago

Awright, LA!

Marilyn S.
Marilyn S.2 years ago

In the early 70s as a young homeowner, the "mow and blow" gardener convinced me to use Roundup on an area that was out of control with weeds. Believing the lies re this product, I said okay. It killed not only the weeds, but the entire area taking out 3 Birch trees, 1 Bird of Paradise and 1 Hibiscus. That area remained dead for over five years. That lesson filled me with shame for what I had allowed to happen. No matter how much money these companies throw into any and all oppositions to their products, they cannot stop us from continuing to fight them. Los Angeles, as well as the state of California, has always had individuals willing to take the risk to stand up against the deep pockets of corporations that have profits as their singular goal regardless of the destruction created along its pathway. Hurray for these two council members. I wonder how much money will be spent to oppose any future political office these two might seek............