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.