Tag Archives: GMO

Prop 37 debates continue: some Berkeley perspectives

The elections may be over, but the stream of debates continue: should genetically engineered (GE) food be labelled?

We’ll start with the facts—the easy ones. California Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, mandates the labeling of most food containing genetically modified ingredients. This includes raw or processed foods—but does not include food sold for immediate consumption, alcohol, certified organics, foods containing only small amounts of GE ingredients, food with the unintended inclusion of GE material, and non-GE animals fed or injected with GEs.  Of those who cast a ballot, 46.9% of Californians, 58.3% of Alameda County residents, and only 37.5% of UC Berkeley’s “Politics for Scientists” class supported the measure.  53.1% of Californians, 41.7% of Alameda County residents, and 62.5% of UC Berkeley’s “Politics for Scientists” class voted against mandated labeling of GEs.

The rest of the “facts” start to get hazy: GMOs are perfectly safe; GMOs are intrinsically bad. GMOs promote bad environmental practices; GMOs will save the environment while feeding the world. A vote for prop 37 is a vote against Monsanto and corporate monoculture; a vote for prop 37 is a vote against farmers, consumer grocery bills, and the state, which stand to lose up to 1 million for regulation. We have the right to know what’s in our food so that we may make educated choices; the broad label of GMO tells us nothing.

Science in Sacramento: Steps toward a ban on genetically engineered food in California

This post is part of a series called “Science in Sacramento” which examines how science effects California state policy and vice-versa.

Source: http://www.fitnraw.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/GMOTomato.jpgEarly in May, supporters of a proposed California ballot measure to label foods containing genetically modified food celebrated. They had surpassed their goal, turning in over 900,000 signatures to put a measure before voters in November. Given the topic’s contentious past, and because the number of signatures is double the amount required, California residents are very likely to be hearing quite a bit about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until Election Day.

Some countries in Asia and Europe require labeling of any product containing genetically modified food, but similar progress has not been made in the United States. California would be the first state to begin the practice. Similar ballot measures in Connecticut recently and years ago in Oregon have proven unsuccessful. Because California health and environmental laws, like the ban on smoking, tend to set trends for the nation, opponents of genetically modified food from all over the US are hoping the law is passed in November.