CIRS Blog about Rural California

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The debate over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) is heating up in California and across the nation. According to a recent New York Times article, more than twelve states are proposing bills that would require the labeling of food containing GMO's. The biggest battle is slated to take place in California, where the organization California Right to Know announced that they collected "971,126 signatures for the state's first-ever ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods." The article in the New York Times states that "tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown" in California.

According to the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative official website: "The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would require food sold in retail outlets such as grocery stores (not including restaurants) to be labeled if it is produced with genetic engineering. In addition to this disclosure, genetically engineered foods are prohibited from being advertised as 'natural.'"

However, the fight over the ballot initiative in November may not be so simple. A recent blog post on "The Salt," National Public Radio's (NPR) food blog, suggests that the legislation may cause more confusion than clarity for Californians. "A new analysis of the labeling initiative suggests that if it passes, it would create a complex mandate for food companies that may make it harder — not easier — for consumers to figure out what's really in their food. That's because the initiative muddies the definition of a "natural" food."

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