Not giving up the fight: California county proposes GMO labeling legislation

Friday, January 17, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GMO labeling, California, legislation

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(NaturalNews) Even though California's Proposition 37 failed to pass at the polls, the push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is still alive and well in California's wine country. As reported by the Napa Valley Register (NVR), the Napa County Local Food Advisory Council is set to issue a formal recommendation to the local Board of Supervisors urging agencies and officials at the state and federal levels to support mandatory GMO labeling, the latest effort in the ongoing fight for the "right to know."

Napa County Agricultural Commissioner Greg Clark recently told reporters that the recommendation, which is still in draft form, is intended to convince those with the power to make such decisions to enact binding legislation requiring full disclosure in food labeling. Assuming it garners enough support in the council, the recommendation will eventually make its way to the Board of Supervisors, and after that be put up for discussion and a vote.

Support for GMO labeling continues to grow not only in Napa but throughout California, despite the reported failure of Proposition 37. Because of this, local officials in many areas are now forming coalitions to force politicians to hear the issue and take a stance on it. In Napa, county commissioners are hoping that continued efforts to direct the issue through the proper channels will eventually result in GMO labeling becoming a reality.

"[The recommendation] would urge state and federal agencies and officials to support labeling, as they have the regulatory authority to impose that requirement," writes Peter Jensen for NVR.

Opinions about GMOs aside, mandatory truth in labeling is just common sense

One of the biggest hurdles obstructing the passage of GMO labeling legislation all across the country has been the mixed opinions about the safety of GMOs, something that Commr. Clark and his allies hope to eliminate from the labeling debate. In their view, the issue has to do with transparency more than it does with the alleged safety -- or non-safety -- of GMOs as a food additives.

"Sometimes it's a challenge to keep the focus on labeling," stated fellow Commr. Greg Clark to NVR about the council's fresh approach to the labeling issue. "There's a tendency among people to passionately state their interest."

Major biotechnology corporations like Monsanto have used this polarization to their advantage, utilizing the "divide and conquer" tactic to essentially kill all attempts at passing GMO labeling legislation. But by redirecting the focus toward transparency in food labeling -- regardless of your personal views on GMOs, it makes sense for them to be labeled -- the conversation will hopefully conclude with a more positive outcome.

"The free market is predicated on consumers having pertinent information about the products they are considering buying," writes one commenter at the Genetic Literacy Project about the issue. "Labeling foods as to how they are made and the ingredients they contain is important information that consumers have the right to know."

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