As I have written here several times, there are many reasons that we should all know what is in our food and support a sustainable food system. These include the seemingly endless stories of food recalls, the negative environmental impacts of a non-sustainable food system, and the use of GMOs.
But there are also more personal reasons that you might want to support the use of food labeling. If you are like me and just don’t trust that it is safe, and are tired of not having food labeled or identified as to where it comes from, what’s in it, and how it is produced when you shop at the supermarket, then you might consider changing the way you eat and working towards changing our food system.
That’s what a citizens’ group in California is doing; they succeeded in getting an initiative on the ballot for next week’s election calling for the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the state. Proposition 37, the “Right to Know” ballot measure, would label genetically engineered foods and prevent them from being marketed as “natural” foods.
In spite of the millions of dollars that have been spent by large food and pesticide corporations opposing the measure, as of last week, Proposition 37 still leads in the polls by 44% to 42%, according to a Los Angeles Times poll.
And the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support Proposition 37, with Councilmember Paul Koretz saying: “It’s not often that the LA City Council votes unanimously to support a measure, but Prop 37 was a no-brainer. We have the right to know what’s in the food we’re eating and feeding our families.”
Here are the reasons that I think GMO food should be labeled:
- First and foremost, so that consumers can make an informed decision about whether they want to eat foods with genetically engineered ingredients—in the same way that they make the choice to eat foods based on calorie and nutritional content and information.
- To avoid unknowingly consuming any pesticides or allergens that might be injected into the genome of such crops.
- To further eliminate negative environmental impacts. According to the CA Right To Know site, “various environmental problems associated with genetic engineering have been well documented, including biodiversity loss, an overall increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds that are threatening millions of acres of farmland, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops.”