With the defeat of California Prop 37, the fight to require labeling of genetically modified foods has passed on to other states, such as Washington and Vermont. Although California’s initiative failed on election day, the campaign brought national attention to the issue of labeling GM foods, with 30 other states now working to require GMO labels. Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now, stated, “More than 4 million Californians are on record saying they want to know what’s in their food. This is a dynamic moment for the food movement.” (MercuryNews.com)
In Washington State, where San Juan county just recently banned the growth of any GMOs, the effort for GM labeling is underway in order to put the issue on the November 2013 ballot. Initiative I-522, The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,with the goal to provide transparency about GMO foods to consumers, without increasing costs to either food producers or purchasers. Food companies already provide labels with information such as calorie and nutritional values, country of origin and trans fat content. The I-522 initiative asks that manufacturers now add if any of the ingredients in foods are produced through genetic engineering.
In Vermont, the VT Right to Know GMOs coalition has also started gathering signatures to present to elected officials about the need for GMO labeling on food products sold in retail stores. With this effort, Vermont joins the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling comprising of the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Andrea Stander, Director of Rural Vermont, lauded The Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling saying, “This is about our fundamental right to know how our food is produced. The corporate-led campaign against labeling food that has been genetically engineered represents an enormous threat to the integrity and diversity of our food sources. This multi-state coalition will focus and coordinate the power of ordinary citizens to overcome corporate control of our food system.” (vtrighttoknow.org)
Advocates of GMO labeling plan to actively pursue legislation on the state level in 2013 although more pressure is also expected to be put on Federal authorities specifically President Barack Obama and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Over 50 countries around the world including the European Union, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand already require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.” (vtrighttoknow.org)
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com, and an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article originally appeared at Waking Times
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