While California's Proposition 37 ballot initiative to label GMO products seems to have failed, a State Senator in New Mexico is next to take the baton in the fight for labeling of genetically modified food products.
As was seen with Proposition 37, with Monsanto and Big Pesticide's excessively deep pockets used to fight the ballot initiative, New Mexico might have a fight on their hands too.
However, State Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) has proposed an amendment that, while it won’t be brought into debate until next year, he hopes will be approved and will ensure that NM consumers know exactly what is in their food.
If Sen. Wirth’s amendment is approved, it will make it mandatory for genetically engineered food and items containing genetically modified, or genetically engineered (GE), products to be adequately and clearly labeled.
Sen. Wirth said, “The premise of this amendment is simple – New Mexicans deserve the right to know what’s in the food they are eating and feeding to their families.”
“Labeling GE foods and feed will empower consumers with basic information to help them decide for themselves the types of food they want to buy.”
Sen. Wirth is already making headway in terms of getting people to talk about his plan. Food & Water Watch's New Mexico Organizer, Eleanor Bravo says of his amendment, “Giving foods with GE ingredients a label will only improve and expand independent health and scientific knowledge about genetic engineering.”
“We need the research of genetic engineering to be expanded beyond the companies who own the seeds and stand to profit and labeling will allow this to happen,” she added.
Sen. Wirth's proposal would state that companies that do not properly label GMO items will be subject to penalties under current rules pertaining to “mis-branding.”
It will be a hard fight, as just a few weeks ago, Proposition 37 lost by a margin of 53 to 47 in favor of the No on Prop 37 campaign. People involved in the Yes on Prop 37 campaign feel that the last-minute defeat was caused by the multi-million dollar campaign launched by Monsanto, other pesticide companies, and junk food companies against labeling of GMOs.
There is still a certain amount of concern over the results of the election, due to discrepancies in tallies shown on the California Secretary of State's website, but no real outcome has come of this.
Mark Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute said in a statement last month that “Genetically engineered foods found on market shelves have most commonly been altered in a lab to either be resistant to being sprayed by large amounts of toxic herbicides, or to produce, internally, their own insecticide.”
“Corporations that produce both the genetically engineered crops and their designer pesticides, in concert with the multi-billion-dollar food manufacturers that use these ingredients, fought this measure tooth and nail, throwing $46 million at the effort that would have required food manufacturers to include informational labeling on GMO content on their packaging.”
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