Prop 37: Labeling For GMOs, Or Genetically Modified Food

10/23/2012 01:42 am ET | Updated Oct 23, 2012

Prop 37 would require companies to label all foods that have been made with genetically modified ingredients. It would also prohibit marketing with the use of the word “natural” on GM-labeled foods.

Proponents claim that GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have been linked to allergies and other health problems. They also say that Prop 37 would not create new oversight bureaucracies, as the law would be self-enforced, and that there are also no incentives to sue companies that don’t comply.

Over 125 chefs signed on in support of Prop 37, following the lead of Berkeley chef Alice Waters. Part of her letter reads:

Fifty countries around the world—representing more than 40 percent of the world’s population—already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90 percent of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered.

Opponents counter that there is no scientific evidence that processed food with traces of GMOs is dangerous for human consumption. And because regulation and verification would fall on retailers’ shoulders, Prop 37 could unduly burden smaller stores and businesses -- and eventually consumers.

In a segment for HuffPost's "Talk Nerdy To Me," University of Florida biology professor Dr. Kevin Folta explained why he is skeptical of labeling legislation:

And even in the absence of any scientific evidence that says they’re dangerous, [labels] will go ahead and show and convince people that [GMOs are] dangerous. I think the problem that we have there is a supply and demand one. Once you’re able to scare people away from 70 percent of the food that’s out there, now you’re going to see higher prices and fewer consumer choices and that will affect the poorest people most first.

For: CALPIRG, Autism One, Amy’s Kitchen, Clif Bar & Company, Gjelina, Cafe Gratitude, Chez Panisse, Real Food Daily, California Democratic Party, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Howard Berman, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. See more at carighttoknow.org.

Against: LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, National Association of Convenience Stores, Cailfornia Indepedent Grocers Association, California Chamber Of Commerce. See more at noprop37.com.

California 2012 Propositions

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