California Wants to Label GMOs

Label GMOs

You know that we’re not fans of unlabeled GMOs around here, so when I ran across this graphic from the Label GMOs campaign, I knew I had to share it with you.

In California, a group called The Committee for the Right to Know is working on a ballot initiative to label GMOs. The way California law works, if you can gather 800,000 in person signatures, you can put any initiative that you want to a vote. The Label GMOs campaign has until April 22nd to collect these signatures, so if you’re in California and want to get heard, check out their local groups page to see where you can go to sign.

Unlike in the EU, genetically engineered foods and products containing GM ingredients in the U.S. don’t have to bear labels. California isn’t the first state where groups are looking to get GMO labeling codified at the state level. A bill in Connecticut would also require that genetically modified foods be labeled as such.

Of course, companies like Monsanto and Dow who produce genetically modified foods don’t want these things labeled. At the same time, they love to tout the benefits of GMOs. Like the graphic above asks, if they’re so proud of their products, why don’t they want consumers to know what we’re buying?

{Image via Label GMOs}

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .
  • Monsanto does proudly label their products…to the intended customer base, farmers. They make no effort of hiding whether the seed they sell to farmers in GM or not, when it is GM it is marketed as such and farmers willingly and knowingly pay a premium for this seed year after year even when other options are available.

    Now as for putting mandatory labeling on the end consumer products, well thats entirely unjustified by current labeling standards based on public health and has no scientific rational. We have a regulatory process fora purpose and I dont think people should be sidestepping it with political appeals. Mandatory GMO labeling is little different than attempts by creationist to have warning stickers placed in biology text books to create distrust and confusion regarding the scientific basis for evolution. Its an anti-scientific campaign to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

    In the end you already have the right and ability to know, you can call and ask the company and also seek out products with voluntary certifications, something that vegans should already be well familiar with.
    http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/food-labeling/

    • I completely disagree. As consumers, we have a right to know what’s in our food, and I think that food labeling should be much more transparent. I’d like to see GM ingredients identified as well as animal ingredients, just like allergens are now. There is science indicating that GMOs pose a health concern, and while there’s definitely further study needed, I’d rather not roll the dice when it comes to my health, and I certainly don’t want to do that with my children. Do you really think that customer service reps at companies know if their products contain GMOs? The friction for getting that information is way too much for an average consumer. Why shouldn’t it be easy to know what’s in our food?

      Equating truth in labeling to creationism doesn’t make any sense to me, but biotech companies certainly have worked hard to market it that way, so I can understand how you got that idea.

      I’m not asking Monsanto to label a box of Oreos. I’m saying that the companies who make that food should be honest about what’s in there. If it’s so easy to find out what’s in their products and GMOs are so safe, why shouldn’t they label them?

  • Becky,

    when looking at science we should mind the consensus of experts. On the GMO issue they are saying there is no evidence of harm or danger beyond traditional agricultural practices. For all intents and purposes they are safe. We should ensure the integrity of food labeling by not watering it down for ingredients or practices that don’t have any merit for concern. If you don’t want to eat GMO food, eat Organic. Simple as that.

    Vegan Chicago had an expert speak on the genetic modification of food and it was enlightening. You can listen in on the recorded podcast here:
    http://www.podcast.veganchicago.com/

    You can also read about how it may benefit veganism here:
    http://pythagoreancrank.com/?p=1504

    Thanks,
    -Dave

    • Dave, I wish it were as simple as that. However, thanks to cross-contamination, GM crops are popping up in organic fields. I am glad that you trust that GM foods are safe, but I do not agree that there is consensus about this. I want to know what is in my food, and I am not alone.

      • Anna

        I think Dave is saying that the scientific consensus is that they’re safe, not the “general consensus among laypeople.” With respect to the scientific consensus, yes, the consensus absolutely is that current GMO crops are safe. I have mucked around a lot in the peer-reviewed literature, and the crops that are currently in use have been found to be safe.

        In doing my research, I set out to confirm some of the rumors I’d heard flying around, but the rumors were either complete falsehoods or based on small studies with poor methodology (since disconfirmed when bigger and better-designed studies were completed). (And in case you’re wondering, these studies were not industry-funded.)

        If this is an issue you’re interested in, it’s definitely worth your while to look at what is being said in the scientific community. Yes, you will find some people raising some very important questions about the potentials of this technology, and you will find suggestions about how to make it even safer, but there is just not a lot of evidence that the sky is falling.

        Of course, theoretically, there is the possibility that an unsafe GMO crop could be produced, but you could say that about any technology (including techniques for hybridizing crops or coming up with new varieties via mutagenesis, both of which are acceptable by organic standards).

        From a vegan perspective, crops that require fewer pesticides, like Bt corn or cotton, should be looked favorably upon, as they kill fewer animals than crops that use broad-spectrum pesticides. I am intrigued by some of the possibilities of genetic engineering, and would like to see more beneficial uses of it.

        ~yet another vegan who is not opposed to genetic engineering

        • Right, I understand what Dave was saying. What I am saying is that I don’t see a consensus among scientists. I see independent studies showing that GMOs are of questionable safety, and that’s not even when you take into account the issues with biodiversity and the problem that Roundup–which so many of these GM crops are made to be sprayed with–poses to the environment.

      • Hey Becky,

        If I were to show you that there was scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered food, would you change your mind?