Californians will have the unique opportunity of deciding whether or not they want genetically engineered foods (GMOs) labeled. This historic measure will be up for a vote on the November ballot (see summary below).  The initiative needed over 550k petition signatures to qualify and county election officials will be validating signatures over the next 30 days.

Be Food Smart is a staunch supporter of requiring labels for genetically modified foods. Over 40% of the world’s population currently has this right and Americans deserve to know what they are eating too. If you are a resident of the Golden State, consider it your duty to spread the word and make sure that EVERY person you know votes in favor of mandatory labeling. Talk, call, email, text tweet, post a status update on G+ or Facebook and share this blog post. Don’t live in California? Educate your mail carrier, manicurist and barrista anyway since there is a good chance a similar measure will come to your state next.

In an email to supporters today, the Label GMOs campaign leader wrote: “Our fight is just beginning, folks…we estimate a huge media campaign of misinformation, twisting facts and outright lies…Just 22 weeks from today, we will go to the polls.  We are in the fight of our lives while all the world watches what we do here.” The bottom line is that food and beverage companies have huge financial resources and it is going to take incredible action from every CA resident to get this done.

 

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Below is a summary of the initiative.

The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. MANDATORY LABELING. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits labeling or advertising such food as “natural.” Exempts foods that are: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential increase in state administrative costs of up to one million dollars annually to monitor compliance with the disclosure requirements specified in the measure. Unknown, but potentially significant, costs for the courts, the Attorney General, and district attorneys due to litigation resulting from possible violations to the provisions of this measure.

Image by Ken Lund via Flickr