I-522, the ballot initiative calling for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms, was voted on Nov. 5., and lost by a 10 percent margin. Connecticut and Maine have passed labeling laws, but their laws will only go into effect once neighboring states pass them.
The “No on 522” campaign reached the state record for contributions by spending more than $17.1 million. The top contributors are Monsanto Co., DuPont Pioneer, Grocery Manufacturers Assoc., AgroSciences LLC and Bayer CropScience. The entities in support of labeling have contributed only $5 million, and that group is largely comprised of Whole Foods and natural and organic markets.
Supporters of the initiative are interested in the basic right to information about the foods they purchase. The ability to make knowledgeable, conscious decisions about food is the key factor for label-backers. Supporters also worry that GMOs have not been studied for a reasonable length of time to predict long-term effects.
Opponents of the initiative worry that labeling will cause consumers to assume there’s an adverse health effect to consuming products containing GMOs. They fear that people may shy away from genetically modified foods and have increased grocery bills.
“There have been no documented safety issues,” Monsanto Co. said on its website.
Tomatoes were the first food to be genetically modified for commercial use, modified in the early 1990s. Foods containing GMOs have only been on the commercial market for about 20 years. Prior legislation to indicate trans fats on labels have not caused prices for consumers to increase, and may be a comparable indicator as to whether pricing will change if I-522 passes.
Many Americans are aware of the trending health issues in America, and want the products they purchase to be more transparent when it comes to information.
A poll from The New York Times earlier this year found 93 percent of Americans want GMOs to be identified in their food.
Lancer, the vendor for the Fresh Stop Café on campus, shows support for labeling. In keeping with the demands of consumers, Lancer recognizes the needs of their consumer base and promotes making knowledgeable, sustainable options.
“As a company, we use local suppliers and reduce transportation costs, support food production processes that eliminate pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms, source hormone free and antibiotic free milk, and purchase products from fair-trade producers whenever possible,” Lancer said on their website.
With Lancer’s philosophy on GMOs, an increase in labeling in the Fresh Stop Café may be predicted if the initiative passes in the future.
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