This fall, Californians will decide whether or not every single food they eat will be labeled as genetically modified or non-genetically modified. Proposition 37, brought to the table by activists who oppose modern farming techniques, will be included in the November election.
The initiative requires that genetically modified food be labeled in a way that is clear and conspicuous. Raw commodities raised from genetically modified seeds would require a label that said “Genetically Engineered” while products made from genetically modified crops would require a label reading “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.”
Alcoholic beverages, organic foods, restaurant foods, and other prepared foods intended for immediate consumption would be exempt as would be farmers or companies who swear they are not knowingly selling products containing genetically modified crops or who receive an independent certification that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients.
Most notably for farmers, the record-keeping requirements of such a mandate are startling. Special records would have to be maintained for any products sold into the California market which no other state maintains. Legal recourse for consumers who suspect faulty labeling would add costs for the entire industry.
You can follow the fight against Proposition 37 at www.noprop37.com. Farmers in California will attempt to educate the public about the value of genetically modified foods. The risk for all of agriculture if they lose is the potential for mandates like this one to sweep across the country, affecting us all.