5/10/12 UPDATE: WE GOT ENOUGH SIGNATURES TO BE ON THE BALLOT LATER THIS FALL. PLEASE READ BELOW TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THIS VERY IMPORTANT INITIATIVE.
Whether you care about organic food or not, the ballot initiative in California to require mandatory labeling of genetically-modified food (officially known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) impacts you.
This is because current regulations are violating our rights as American citizens, and that should outrage you.
Approximately 70-80% of the food on supermarket shelves contains genetically-modified ingredients, widely known as GMOs. GMOs are species that have been designed in laboratories and have had organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, inserted into them.
Our government has a long list of requirements for food packaging labels – nutritional information, country of origin, etc. – yet disclosing genetically-modified ingredients is not one of them. Exactly, why is this?
Because the FDA and USDA have been heavily influenced by giant agricultural corporations who make billions off GMOs. These companies do not want anything jeopardizing their profits.
If consumers knew that what they were eating is genetically-modified and understood the very serious health risks of eating GMOs, they might not purchase them anymore.
As a result, mandatory labeling of GMOs has these international agricultural giants very, very scared.
Whether you care about organic food or not, the bottom line is that we have a fundamental right to know what is in our food. And the government is denying us this basic right.
While there is a movement to change things on the national level, the Just Label It campaign, federal regulations will ultimately be decided upon by the FDA and maybe the court system.
By seeking change on the state level, it can be voted on by actual citizens.
For those of us who are not California residents, we need to closely follow and actively support the California ballot initiative.
While there are roughly 20 states that are trying to mandate the labeling of GMOs, none is more important than California. This is because of the sheer size of California’s economy and the influence it has on the entire country.
If California passes this ballot initiative, it will have a monumental impact, both locally and nationally. Furthermore, the organic industry will be a massive beneficiary.
OVERVIEW OF CALIFORNIA BALLOT INITIATIVE
We need approximately 830,000 signatures by April 22nd in order to get on the ballot and then the voters in California will determine its fate this fall.
According to Pamm Larry, founder and organizer of this initiative in California, things are on track but we still have not reached the 830,000 number. Therefore, every single signature over the next few weeks truly matters.
Once we get on the ballot, we will need millions of dollars to raise money for TV and radio ads to build awareness. We’ll be up against very powerful opponents, Big Ag and the biotech industry, who will spend whatever it takes to defeat this initiative.
Their primary message will be that GMO labeling will cost citizens tons of money and that it is unnecessary.
The costs to oversee and enforce this program will be very, very low. Two individuals at the California Department of Public Health will be needed to manage everything, and there will be no requirements for testing – just a signed affadavit.
Food that is exempt from GMO-labeling will be:
– Wine and alcohol
– GM-fed beef and poultry
– GM-food at restaurants
Additionally, there will be a 18-month phase-in period to implement the labeling.
If violations are suspected, citizens will have the option to file a lawsuit.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1) If you live in California, absolutely sign the ballot.
Unfortunately, this cannot be done electronically and must be done in person.
2) If you don’t live in California, please forward this post to friends of yours who do live in California and educate them about what is going on in that state.
3) Please donate money. While we do have many volunteers, we also have to pay people to collect signatures.
Furthermore, once we get on the ballot for this fall, we will need a great deal of money for the state’s marketing campaign.
4) If you live in California and want to start a local group, collect signatures in your community or volunteer in any capacity, click HERE.
For more information, visit these two websites.
Thank you so much for supporting this initiative, and I will absolutely keep you posted about the latest developments.