Saturday, August 23, 2014

GMO Labeling to be on Colorado Ballot in November - About Time!

The news in the Denver Post two days ago couldn’t have been better for those who want to see their food products labeled. After all, the full labeling of what an American is about to consume is among the most basic rights. We ought to know, as one Vermont critic of the GMO corporations said, what we are putting into our bodies.

The argument of the GMO producers and the FDA (and some misguided scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson)  has been that all this flack over labels  is totally ridiculous since GMO- based foods are “basically the same” as others we eat. Fine, then we will allow them to appear on the supermarkets’ shelves – no problemo. Just make sure you label them!

Now, we know the signatures on the petitions have been verified for Colorado Proposition 105 and the formal announcement was made on Wednesday by the Colorado secretary of state – that the proposition will appear on the November ballot.  There were 86, 105 valid signatures needed, and 171, 370 were submitted with a 73 percent validity rate so 124, 800 were valid.

Thanks to Colorado Right to Know, it has been mission accomplished.

The Proposition is asking voters whether foods modified or treated with genetically modified materials should be labeled. The reference label will be:

Produced with Genetic Engineering  - Beginning om July 1, 2016.

Foods from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs are exempt, as are unpackaged foods for immediate consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals and medically prescribed foods.

Of course, as in the case of the local fracking initiatives the response of those who stand to lose profits if the proposition passes has been hysterical.  Sara Froelich, quoted in the Denver Post, blathered:

Proposition 105 will absolutely raise food prices to the tune of hundreds of dollars  per year for a family of four

Which is the typical scare message that’s predictably emanated from these tools since they stopped a similar California labeling initiative several years ago.

The fact is that food prices will barely be affected.

As a Mother Jones piece observed, e.g.

"Opponents of labeling, pointing to a 2012 study prepared during the California fight by Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants, say that the new rules would cost consumers $350 to $400 annually per household. The Northbridge paper, though, was funded by the industry-dominated campaign to stop Prop 37, as the California initiative was known. Campaign records show that Northridge received a total of $97,371 in five payments during 2012.”

So this is clearly where Ms. Froelich got her scarifying info from.  Meanwhile, a rival 2012 study, prepared by Joanna M. Shepherd of Emory University School of Law, found that "food prices [are] likely to remain unchanged for consumers." That study was commissioned by the Alliance for Natural Health, a group that advocates for "the right of natural-health practitioners to practice and the right of consumers to choose the healthcare options they prefer."

Which is right? According to the Mother Jones article:

Over at Grist, Michael Lipsky, a distinguished senior fellow at the progressive think tank Demos, argues that labeling wouldn't likely cost consumers much at all. The cost of changing labels would be trivial, he writes—food manufacturers "do it all the time." Ever seen the words "new and improved" on some boxed delicacy

The takeaway is that Colorado voters, like Vermont’s earlier, can’t allow industry scare tactics to rob them of the chance for labeling and individual decisions  - as opposed to letting the FDA and the likes of Monsanto to make them for us!


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