Earlier this month, Washington State voters rejected Initiative 522, an initiative that would have required all genetically modified (GMO) foods to be labeled. I-522 was struck down with a 54-45% vote, showing that though it didn’t pass, support was still very strong. California also struck down a similar ballot measure in 2012, but these setbacks aren’t going to stop pro-GMO labeling group Right to Know from pursuing their goals.
Colorado could be next up on Right to Know’s list. Earlier in November, co-chair of Right to Know Colorado, Larry Cooper, told Politico that the group had submitted a ballot initiative proposal in Colorado. If approved, the group will need to collect at least 85,000 signatures in order for it to show up on the ballot in November 2014.
“Food labels list and describe nearly every detailed component of the food product, from the caloric values and processing information, to the fat and protein content and the known allergens,” reads Right to Know’s website. “Adding a simple label for GMO ingredients would fulfill Colorado consumers’ right to know, enabling them to make educated food purchases and dietary choices.”
Much of the opposition comes, understandably, from big food corporations, which are afraid that labeling all GMO foods would negatively impact their brands and raise food prices overall. Somewhere between 75 to 80 percent of conventional processed foods contain GMO ingredients, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Much of the controversy surrounding labeling comes from the fact that each GM organism has different genes, is inserted into food differently, and therefore should be assessed individually. But while it may not necessarily be “correct” for consumers to assume that all GMOs should be avoided, shouldn’t they also be given the option to know exactly what they are consuming? Right to Know believes so.
What do you think?