Californians Have A Right to Know What’s in Their Food

You’ve probably seen the ads on TV.  Monsanto, DuPont and other business interests are spending $1 million a day to mislead Californians about Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods (also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs).

Consumers Union, along with a host of other environmental and consumer organizations, supports Prop 37 because we believe consumers have a right to know if their food is genetically engineered.

Big corporations should not be able to hide what they are doing when they alter food through genetic modification.

Most other major countries require labeling and safety testing of GMOs, including Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Korea, China, Russia and Brazil.  So should the United States.

Consumers Union has supported labeling of genetically engineered food for more than two decades. Food containing GMOs is fundamentally different from the kinds of foods humans have eaten since we came into existence on this planet.

To create genetically engineered foods, scientists move genetic material between different types of living things in ways that do not occur naturally, which can result in all sorts of problems. Bacterial genes have been moved into corn to make the corn produce a pesticide throughout the plant. Scientists have even moved human genes into rice plants in some experiments and tried to get such plants approved.

Consumers Union believes that all genetically engineered food should be tested and approved before being allowed on the market, to make sure that no new toxins, allergens, nutritional changes or other potential problems have been introduced as a side effect of the genetic modification. However, unlike virtually all other developed countries, no U.S. government agency conducts mandatory safety evaluations of these foods so we don’t know how safe they are to eat.  All the more reason you should have the right to choose whether you eat GMO foods if you don’t want to be part of this large experiment.

Regardless of what Proposition 37 opponents say, GMO labeling will not raise food prices–we have already seen that this hasn’t been the case from other countries that currently require labeling

And Prop 37 is not, as the companies claim, poorly drafted and full of inconsistencies.  For example, it won’t require labeling of GMOs on restaurant menus, but only because there is no mandatory labeling of any kind about foods on restaurant menus–no requirements for ingredient labeling or additives either.

The bottom line is that you should have the right to know whether the food you buy is genetically modified so you can make your own choice.  California voters, we urge you to vote YES on Prop 37 to require labeling of genetically engineered food!

To learn more, check out the Yes on 37 campaign web site, including the new TV ad in support of this critical ballot measure.