California to Decide on GMO Labeling

The voters in California’s November election will decide whether a special label is needed on genetically engineered foods, announced the Secretary of State for California as part of the Right to Know initiative. The new historic initiative would become the first in the United States to become law that requires the labelling of a wide variety of foods that are genetically engineered.

The supporters for the initiative feel it is the right of the people to know what they are eating to make better informed choices about the food their families consume. The initiative would require labelling for genetically modified organism or GMOs.

GMOs are meats or plants whose DNA was altered artificially by genes from separate animals, plants, bacteria or viruses to produce a foreign compound in that particular food. The particular genetic alteration happens only in a laboratory setting and not in nature.

The initiative in California has found the backing of a myriad of environmental, health and consumer groups, farmers and businesses. One farmer said that the United States is one of the few developed nations in the world that does not require a label for consumers that informs them whether or not their food was genetically engineered. He said that over 40 countries such as all of Europe, China and Japan label their foods that are genetically engineered.

Most analysts feel the initiative has the best chance of any in the U.S. of achieving its goal of requiring labelling in the U.S. for genetically engineered foods.