Californians are one step closer to voting on a ballot initiative requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods. Last week, the coalition It's Our Right To Know filed a ballot initiative with the California Attorney General's office. Volunteers must collect at least 850,000 signatures by April 2012 in order to place the initiative on the November 2012 state ballot.
If successful, the initiative will allow voters to choose whether foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) should be labeled as such. Labeling food packaging would allow consumers to make informed decisions about the type of ingredients in the food they eat. GMOs are pervasive in the food system, and current state laws do not require labeling of GMO foods.
According to one of the initiative's sponsors, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), over 80% of Californians polled favor GMO labeling. The OCA asserts that the initiative has been carefully crafted to prevent costs on food consumers or producers. The initiative language will be posted on the Label GMOs website in the coming days.
Monsanto, an international leader well known in developing and selling seeds used in GMO crops, notes on its website that "Monsanto is dedicated to providing full transparency about our company."