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Californians to Vote on Food Labelling A possible victory for food safety in California is the proposed ballot scheduled for November this year that will ask citizens to vote on regulation requiring foods to carry labels disclosing their ingredients including if they contain genetically altered ingredients. Currently about half of all foods for sale in the state contain these genetically engineered ingredients yet most do not convey this information to consumers on labels and are not required to do so by law. There are other countries that have already introduced similar laws concerning food labelling such as Japan, China, India and most of the European nations and the decision will be a milestone that will affect food labelling laws in the USA. This post on Ausfoodnews.com.au explains more about the campaign: With regard to the allocation of legal responsibility, onus would be on retailers to ensure their products are adequately labelled in accordance with the proposed regulations and individuals and companies would be able to sue for incidents on non-compliance. Supporters of the law, such as the ‘Yes on 37’ campaign, argue that consumers have a right to make informed decisions about the food they eat. They look to the inconclusive findings on research into the potential health risks of GMOs as especially important in emphasising the need for full disclosure. The ‘Yes to 37’ campaign has received over 2,000 endorsements from health, food and environmental organisations including the American Public Health Association, Consumer federation of America, United Farm Workers and the Center for Food Safety. Major opponents of Prop 37 include the “Big Six” pesticide firms ((Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, BASF and Syngenta) as well as companies such as Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi Co. and General Mills. They point to a report produced by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office outlining the estimated fiscal effects of the new law as evidence of its detrimental consequences. This report foresees an increase in state administrative costs from the roll out and enforcement of regulations of up to USD1 million annually. Critics of the law also suggest the expanded scope for litigation will result in a large number of claims being made. However, legal analysts have asserted that Prop 37 will actually bring greater legal certainty regarding companies’ food labeling obligations. Source: http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2012/09/19/california-asked-to-decide-on-gmo-labeling. html

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(Photo: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) This issue highlights the need for food labels in order for consumers to be able to make informed choices. Especially when it comes to deciding on whether to eat genetically altered foods or not because of the negative effects these can have on the body. Other than making generally healthier choices there are some other reasons why consumers would want to be more educated on what they are actually eating. Obviously the more natural the foods eaten the better for your health so knowing how much of a product is natural and how much is genetically engineered will help you make better decisions. The health consequences of eating genetically modified food may not have immediate side effects but may have a long term effect on consumer’s health. The fact that Food items which contain GMOs are often unlabelled in America is suspicious. Thankfully in Oz and The European Union labelling on GMOs has been regulated. Scientists have found that genetically engineering reduces genetic diversity thereby reducing their health benefits. Another negative aspect of GMOs is that they require large amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which are poisonous and dangerous to human and animal health. These poisonous chemicals run off into our water supply and affect more than just the humans that consume the by-products. http://www.foodhandlingcertificateonline.com

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Californians to Vote on Food Labelling