Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: It’s Our Right to Know
Dec 28, 2011 01:38PM
By Sheri Fogarty
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms created by splicing genes from one species and injecting that DNA into another, resulting in combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that cannot occur through natural hybridization or traditional crossbreeding. Since the early 1990s, these manmade organisms have been in our food supply. Agricultural products in large-scale commercial production that currently contain GMOs include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow summer squash.
Many scientists and citizens are concerned that GMOs in food have not been thoroughly tested for safety and may lead to allergies, increase cancer risk, produce antibiotic-resistant pathogens, damage food quality and produce dangerous toxins in our environment. Farmers are concerned about genetic drift—the natural cross-pollination of GMOs into non-genetically-modified crops—that makes those crops less marketable. Canadian farmers, for example, can no longer grow certified organic canola and soybean crops because the seed stocks of those two crops have been completely contaminated by GMOs. These groups have been appealing to the USDA, the FDA, legislators and the court system to require the labeling of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in food, as is done in forty other countries. A growing number of countries are completely banning the cultivation of GM crops.
Parents, farmers, doctors, scientists and food activists are working together to demand that all GM foods in the state of California be labeled by proposing a ballot initiative for the 2012 election. If you would like to be part of the Label GMOs campaign, visit LabelGMOs.org, Facebook.com/LabelGMOs or Facebook.com/GMOFreeSouthernCalifornia. Beginning in early January, volunteers will be needed to gather petition signatures.