What is GMO?
GE seeds were introduced commercially in 1996 and now dominate the production of corn, soybeans, and cotton in the United States. GE crops contain one or both of two major categories of traits:
* Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, more commonly known as "Roundup Ready crops," are genetically engineered to survive direct application of one or more herbicides during the growing season,chemicals that would otherwise kill or severely stunt the crop.
* Bt crops are engineered to produce toxins...that kill certain agricultural insect pests.
A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature and is experimental. Many of the foods we currently eat and feed our families (including certain baby formulas and a high percentage of corn, soy, cotton and sugar beets commonly used in processed foods sold in the U.S.), but we don't know which ones without labeling.
Example: Genetically Modified corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. GMO corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Insecticide, but is sold unlabeled. [EPA Pesticides]. Walmart is now selling Monsanto's sweet corn that has been genetically engineered to contain an insecticide, but consumers don't know because it's not labeled.
Are Genetically Engineered Foods Safe? GMOs have not been proven safe, and long-term health studies have not been conducted. A growing body of peer-reviewed studies has linked these foods to allergies, organ toxicity, and other health problems. These studies must be followed up. However, unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies for genetically entineered foods. The United Nations/World Health Organization food standards group and the American Medical Association have called for mandatory safety testing of genetically engineered foods -- a standard the U.S. fails to meet.
GMOs Linked to Environmental Problems: Various environmental problems associated with genetic engineering have been well documented, including biodiversity loss, an overall increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds that are threatening millions of acres of farmland, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops.
We Have a Right to Know What's in Our Food: Fifty countries around the world-representing more than 40% of the world's population---already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. We are free to choose what we want to eat and feed our children. The free market is supposed to provide consumers with accurate information about products so we can make informed choices.
A Simple Proposition for California in 2012: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would simply require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it is produced through genetic engineering, and would not allow these products to be labeled as "natural." Prop 37 gives companies 18 months to change their labels, and allows for the GMO disclosure to appear wherever they choose on packaging.
For more information please visit CARightToKnow.org