by Allison Mayes
As 2014 approaches, many organizations in the field of Sustainability are putting in ballots trying to fight for a better future. In the state of Colorado, The Right To Know Colorado organization has submitted a ballot measure that proposes adding labels to foods that contain GMOs. If the ballot measure is approved, it would be taken to the voters of Colorado and they would decide on whether or not it should be a state law.
GMO is the abbreviation for Genetically Modified Organisms, which means that an organism has been modified through engineering techniques. When it comes to GMOs and the foods we eat, the Grocery Manufacturers Association says that 75 to 80 percent of conventional processed foods in the U.S. contain genetically-engineered ingredients. While GMOs are altered to have a strong pest resistance and survive droughts, there is still much controversy involving GMOs and human health. Because the nutrient content is changed during the engineering process and there are high levels of toxins as well as allergens, people have begun to get concerned over the harm this can do to the human body. Already many diseases are speculated to be related to the increase of GMOs within the human’s average food diet. However, despite these concerns, food industries still do not have to inform the public when GMO’s are present in the foods they are eating.
The Right To Know Colorado website says that their mission is “built on the foundation that we have the basic right to know what is in our food and what we are feeding our families.” They argue that it would be beneficial in helping families understand what products do contain GMOs and allow them to make a fair choice when it comes to choosing what is appropriate to feed their families. Without labeling it is incredibly difficult to know what products do and do not contain GMOs.
On the other side, those who do not support the labeling say that the cost of food would increase dramatically as box designs would need to be altered, and the threat of rising food prices scares voters. They also argue that there are many kinds of GMOs in food production and not all of them have been tested well enough to understand what exactly the danger is with having them. Also, it is said that determining a safety level would be very costly and take time from producing foods that need to get out to the public to feed the ever growing population.
In the last few years the fight for labeling GMO foods has failed when it comes to voters’ approval. In 2012 California voted against it and in 2013 Washington also voted for leaving the labels off. Right To Know Colorado says that they have a plan that involves educating the public and easing peoples fear of a dramatic increase in food prices, as they say it can be done with very little alteration to the products price. They hope that during the last few months they have before the vote that they can reach as many families as possible and make them see that this is very crucial in the fight for keeping families and their health safe.
For the full story please visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/27/colorado-voters-may-be-ne_n_4346194.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green
Allison Mayes is serving an internship in the Sustainability Studies Program this Fall 2013 semester as a contributor and assistant editor of this blog as well as the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future (SSF) website project. A senior SUST major, Allison was a lead author of the Water section of the SSF project in 2011 and was part of the inaugural section of SUST 350 Service & Sustainability class that worked at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in Cabrini-Green during the winter/spring of 2012.