The fight in the United States to have genetically engineered (GE) foods labeled here (over 40 countries, including 15 European Union nations, Japan, Australia, Brazil, China, Japan and Russia require labeling) finds itself in a critical stage, with gains and setbacks occurring in the past week.
Today, the good news from California. Tomorrow I'll discuss the unfortunate turn of events in Connecticut.
The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is one step closer to becoming reality as it seems certain the act will appear as a ballot initiative on the state's ballot this November. Last Wednesday the California Right to Know campaign filed 971,126 signatures with the state, almost double the 555,236 needed to get the act on the ballot. The signatures were collected in a 10-week span and highlight the public's demand that GE foods be labeled as such.
Attempting to have similar laws passed by governmental agencies or legislative bodies has failed miserably (check back tomorrow for the travesty that occurred in Connecticut), so having the public decide through a direct vote may be the best chance of success.
According to the campaign's website, "The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would require food sold in retail outlets such as grocery stores (not including restaurants) to be labeled if it is produced with genetic engineering. In addition to this disclosure, genetically engineered foods are prohibited from being advertised as 'natural.'"
Of course, processed food companies and pesticide/seed companies such as Monsanto will pour tens of millions of dollars into the state in an attempt to defeat the initiative. With California's economy one of the world's largest, the labeling of GE foods could change the way all Americans eat. Click here to read a post I wrote about this in March.
Click here to read last week's press release from the campaign.