October 11, 2012, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-imhoff-prop-37-gmo-labeling…

Proposition 37 … is rooted in a simple premise: Consumers have the right to know if their food is produced using genetic engineering. It’s been standard practice in all member countries of the European Union for years. The latest published research shows that 61 countries have some form of mandatory labeling for foods containing genetically modified crop ingredients. The companies that sell genetically modified seeds and manufactured foods argue that American consumers don’t need such detailed labels. They say, “Just trust us.” That is a lot to ask. Product labels are the front line of consumer protection. Research and development on genetically engineered products … are largely done by private sector, not public sector, scientists because companies very aggressively protect their patents. The level of secrecy and the combative nature of the industry fuel public distrust. Unfortunately, consumers cannot look to the federal government to increase their trust. Some government officials in positions that make policy on genetically engineered products may hold biases born of their previous jobs with GMO seed companies. Distrust is amplified by questions over who really benefits from GMO foods. As we saw in the multibillion-dollar tobacco case settlement in 1998, companies cannot always be trusted to put health before profit. Another concern is the skyrocketing price of seed for farmers. Finally, GMO products on the market offer American consumers no clear benefits. Proposition 37 simply requires basic transparency and truthful packaging, and companies would have 18 months to implement it. And it would protect consumers’ right to know in a product category central to health.

Note: For a powerful essay showing the harmful effects of genetically modified foods, click here.

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