This blog addresses issues affecting healthy communities and healthy people. Food production and pest management practices are issues that affect all of us. In a couple of weeks, we have the opportunity to vote on several ballot initiatives. The Colorado Mandatory Labeling of GMOs, Proposition 105 is on the 2014 statewide ballot as an initiated state statute. The measure would require any “prepackaged, processed food or raw agricultural commodity that has been produced using genetic modification” to include the label: “Produced with genetic engineering.”
Efforts for required labeling and bans of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a growing issue in American politics at the state and local level. Over 60 countries, including all members of the European Union, have laws or regulations mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) says, “crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe. In a series of surveys taken in 2001, 2006, and 2011, about one third of Colorado respondents consistently expressed the opinion that GM foods are almost always or usually safe (see Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods, by P. Byrne, CSU Extension factsheet). However, a number of agricultural organizations are concerned that the measure may send the message to consumers that the foods are unsafe.
There are several complex issues related to GMOs. Under current laws, companies may voluntarily label foods produced without genetic modification, and foods labeled USDA Organic are produced without genetic modification. The question on the ballet is whether we should require food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material be labeled as such. Here’s what Garry Auld, PhD, RDN, professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University said in a letter to the Fort Collins Coloradoan: “If consumers hope to retain some influence on the food system, than they have to know what type of system they are supporting with their purchases. Vote to label GMOs and then vote with your food dollars to support a just, environmentally sustainable food system that actually produces healthy food for everyone.” Opponents say that proposition 105 will result in higher food prices as farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers pass their costs to comply with the labeling requirements on to consumers. CAST YOUR VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4!