Many California foodies are still licking their wounds from the narrow defeat of Proposition 37 in November, which lost by 6 percentage points, but momentum to see genetically modified organisms regulated and labeled is picking up around the country—the latest effort coming out of New Mexico.
State Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) has proposed an amendment similar to California’s Prop 37 that could make it mandatory for any foods sold in the state containing genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. “The premise of this amendment is simple – New Mexicans deserve the right to know what’s in the food they are eating and feeding to their families,” Wirth said about the issue. “Labeling GE foods and feed will empower consumers with basic information to help them decide for themselves the types of food they want to buy.”
While California’s Proposition 37 was outspent nearly 5 to 1 by the corporate-ag funded opposition, leading to its surprising defeat, a small victory for the anti-GMO movement happened in Washington’s San Juan County in November. The county passed an Initiative Measure (No. 2012-4), which bans growing any genetically modified organisms in the county for commercial purposes (some will still be allowed for research purposes). Despite the ban on growing GMOs, stores will still be permitted to sell foods containing GMOs, which are found in approximately 80 percent of all processed foods.
And more efforts are underway to educate and activate consumers. The GMO Inside campaign, which includes support from Green American and Nutiva, has seen a swell of consumer support, with a highly successful Facebook campaign and DIY labels, which allow consumers to print out warning stickers and place them on products in their local supermarkets believed to contain GMOs. Likewise, efforts are underway to petition the FDA to enact national regulations on GMOs. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without policies on genetically modified organisms.
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