Tomorrow, the State of California will be voting on a proposition (or Law) that would require any food item sold in a store to be labeled with wording that it was genetically engineered. With many of the offices being decided early by the general leanings of the state, some of these state measures are causing the deep conversations and Prop 37 might be causing the biggest division within homes. The sad thing is that it probably shouldn’t even be a law – but a matter of marketing – and that is why this GMO requirement just wouldn’t be right.
The idea that the 3rd generation of mice becoming sterile based on their being fed genetically modified foods is pretty repulsive. And, the thought that genetically engineered food is thought to be causing autism or any other physical issue is definitely serious. But the issues don’t necessarily lead to requiring a law be passed – and a poorly written one at that. What GMO opponents really need is strong marketing. Strong labeling by the producers who stay away from GMO would do a lot to ensure that people who care can get the food products they need. Strong marketing by those who can actually profit by people walking away from GMO foods makes more sense.
The thought that there should be a law requiring companies who are providing foods that have been (and still are) legal for a couple of decades to incur costs and label their food in a negative form just doesn’t seem right. The matter is even larger when you consider that companies don’t usually create packaging only for one State. Their items are packaged for regions in the smallest form, so there would be an inherent effect on other states – probably leading to the fact that the labeling will appear in other states hether they care or not.
Within the past few years, there was another instance where a decades-long accepted process was found to be causing problems. The stir was around BPA – a chemical used in the creation of plastics that was heavily used in baby bottles. Research found that there might be risks for infants and children due to extended interaction with products made with BPA. A law was NOT passed, but companies started labeling their non-BPA products as such to educate and drive consumption. Those whose products continued as they were (with BPA) have found deeply diminished demand. The FDA is still doing research and has only suggested that consumers may want to transition to BPA-free products. Even without the final findings or a law, you’d be hard-pressed to find products including BPA in the market.
Those who don’t want to risk eating food with genetically modified ingredients should be able to search out properly marketed products to meet their needs. Much like people who cared gravitated to Organically labelled products, they can do the same if they are so inclined on these food products. The interesting thing about the Organic movement is that the positive labelling was called into question due to the relaxed guidelines on what constituted an organic product. At least those who were not organic were not forced to state that they weren’t.
In the case of Prop 37, it places the honus on those who market products that may be lacking in their genuine health to tout themselves in a negative fashion rather than providing a positive platform for the marketers of GMO-free products. That doesn’t seem right.
The great thing about Prop 37 is that it opened my eyes to the perceived dangers of GMO foods. I will now be more aware and search out those foods that were not created using those methods. But I will not be voting for the law that requires products to negatively label themselves. It just doesn’t taste right.