It’s early February, and the flowering quince outside my window is in full bloom. The display is just a small part of the big flower show now unfolding all over the East Bay as the rose family relatives of this shrub—apples, pears, cherries, plums, apricots, nuts, and berries—prepare to produce summer fruits. It has me looking forward to much good food to come.
I’m also anticipating an upcoming opportunity to assert our right to know whether the food we buy at our markets is indeed good and safe, and not genetically engineered or tainted with genetically engineered ingredients. There is now a very well organized and carefully presented effort under way by the grassroots Committee for the Right to Know (a wide-ranging coalition of consumer, public health, and environmental organizations; food companies; and individuals) toward placing an initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would allow us to vote into law a requirement that genetically engineered foods and foods containing GMO ingredients be clearly labeled in the way that other nutritional information is now provided. Other efforts to enact labeling laws in Congress and in the California legislature have been blocked by big food and chemical company lobbyists. This measure will let us, the consumers, decide whether genetically engineered foods should be identified on labels.
Last November, the committee submitted the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” to the State Attorney General for title and summary, prior to circulation as an initiative measure for the November 2012 election. By the time you read this, volunteers should be out gathering the 504,760 valid signatures needed by April 12 to qualify the initiative for the November ballot, so keep your eyes open, and decide if you want to act in the interest of good, clean food. If you need to know more, or want to find out how to help, go online to LabelGMOs.org.
Cheryl Angelina Koehler