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article imageCalifornia voters to decide on GMO labeling in November

By Anne Sewell     Jun 12, 2012 in Food
Sacramento - On the evening of June 11, the California Secretary of State's office announced that the Right to Know initiative to label genetically engineered foods will be on the state's November ballot.
The announcement by the California Secretary of State's office can be viewed here.
Polls show overwhelming support for this historic labeling initiative and this will be the first law in the United States to require labeling of a wide range of genetically modified foods.
Stacy Malkan, a spokesperson for the California Right to Know campaign, said, “We’re thrilled that Californians will have the opportunity this November to vote for the right to know what’s in our food.”
“This initiative is pretty simple. It's about our fundamental right to make informed choices about the food we eat and feed our families.”
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
The initiative, which is coming up for vote in November, requires that genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are plants or meats that have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food, must be labeled clearly as such. The type of genetic alteration in these foods occurs in a laboratory, and is not found in nature.
In various polls that have been run, almost unanimous support across the political spectrum is in favour of labeling of genetically modified foods. Nine out of ten voters in the U.S. and California back the labeling initiative according to the following recent polls - The Mellman Group 2012, Thomson Reuters 2010 and IBOPE Zogby 2012.
KCBS, a San Francisco TV station ran a poll in April and found that 91% backed labeling.
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
The California Right to Know initiative has the backing of a broad range of health, consumer and environmental groups, as well as businesses and farmers.
Major endorsers of the initiative include the American Public Health Association, California Certified Organic Farmers, the California State Grange, the Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Dr. Bronner’s, Eden Foods, Food Democracy Now!, Lundberg Family Farms, Mercola.com, Nature’s Path, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Valley, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and United Farm Workers.
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms in the Sacramento Valley, noted that the U.S. stands out as one of the few developed nations that does not provide consumers with simple labels to inform them if their food has been genetically engineered.
“More than 40 other countries - including all of Europe, Japan and even China - already label genetically engineered food. Californians deserve to be able to make informed choices too," Lundberg said.
Robert Gould, MD, president of the SF-Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility said, "As a doctor committed to the health of people and the environment, I strongly believe that people have a right to know, and to choose for themselves, whether to eat foods that have been genetically engineered."
Susan Lang is a Sacramento mother of two children, and one of thousands of volunteers who worked to place the initiative on the ballot. She says that passing the Right to Know initiative is in the best interests of everyone in the state. "I want to know whether the food I’m buying contains genetically engineered ingredients. All the parents I know want to have this information too,” Lang said.
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
California Right to Know
The California Right to Know initiative is widely regarded as the best chance to achieve GMO labeling in the United States. The campaign has generated significant national interest in the growing movement for transparency in our food system, as reported in a recent front-page New York Times story.
In March this year, more than 1 million people submitted comments on a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, more than any other petition in FDA history. Twenty states have tried to legislate GMO labeling, but none have succeeded due to intense opposition from corporate special interests.
As reported on Digital Journal, Connecticut and Vermont have been threatened with law suits by Monsanto for trying to impose labeling of GMOs.
“All eyes are on California, and the voters of this state will support our right to know what’s in our food when they vote this November,” said Stacy Malkan from the Right to Know campaign.
More info: Contact Stacy Malkan, 510-542-9224; Stacy@carighttoknow.org or visit www.CARighttoKnow.org.
More about California, right to know, Gmo, Genetically modified, Genetically engineered
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