The Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Initiative in California has reached its target goal of 850,000 signatures needed to get the issue on the state’s November 2012 ballot, reports the campaign.
Meeting the April 22nd deadline, the mostly volunteer run campaign hit the streets of California earlier this year in order to attempt to make California the first state to require labeling of any of the controversial genetically engineered foods sold within the state. The signature gatherers now must submit all of their signature lists to county recorders where they will be processed and sent to the Secretary of State’s office, which will then make the official announcement about the issue’s appearance on the November ballot.
Genetically modified foods comprise nearly 80 percent of all processed foods sold in the U.S., but unlike most other developed countries, are unlabeled, preventing consumers from having the right to choose what they eat. Corn, soy, canola and cotton are the four most common genetically engineered crops grown in the U.S., but others include fruits and vegetables such as zucchini and papayas.
A recent petition was also submitted to the FDA in hopes of federal regulations on genetically modified foods with more signatures than any other petition in the agency’s history. But, due to a technicality, the more than 1 million signatures were only counted as fewer than 400, inciting outrage and suspicions that multinational seed and chemical corporations that produce GMOs have a hand in persuading the agency’s decision making.
The health risks associated with consuming GMOs and exposure to their companion pesticides include neurological disorders, fertility issues, organ damage and behavioral issues. No long-term health studies on human or environmental risks resulting from genetically modified foods have been conducted.
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