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California Ballot Initiative to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Signature Gathering Efforts Gains Serious Momentum

Posted: March 7, 2012 |   Comments

(SACRAMENTO, CA) March 6, 2012 - The California Right to Know Initiative Campaign is gaining momentum with its signature gathering efforts across the state to place a voter backed initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would mandate labeling of genetically engineered food. The effort is supported by a broad coalition of public health, family, environmental organizations, farmers and individuals.

"Californians have a right to know what's in the food we are eating and feeding to our children," said Pamm Larry who has been instrumental in organizing the volunteer effort. "Right now, we have no way of knowing if food is genetically engineered or not. This initiative will enable us all to make informed choices and give consumers the ability to choose whether or not to buy genetically engineered foods."

Public opinion polls indicate that over 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of genetically engineered foods as a basic right to know what's in their food and how it is produced. Past efforts to enact labeling laws in Congress and the California legislature have been blocked by big food and chemical company lobbyists.

According to the Grocery Manufacturer's Association, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of processed food in the U.S. contains ingredients that have been genetically engineered in laboratories.

The initiative also has broad support of numerous California family farmers. Grant Lundberg of Lundberg Farms, which has been operating in California since 1937, says that it's time for the United States to catch up with the rest of the world on labeling genetically engineered foods.

"Fifty countries, including the entire European Union and Japan already have laws requiring genetically engineered foods be labeled. Even China labels their genetically engineered foods," Lundberg said. "The U.S. should be leading the way, not following, on this important issue, and California should take the lead here in the U.S."

Thousands of energized volunteers have been collecting signatures to qualify the petition for the ballot since mid-February across the state.

The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act will finally allow parents and consumers to make informed choices about the food they eat and feed their families. For the past fifteen years, Americans have been in the dark about genetically engineered ingredients in their food. With this initiative, California has the chance at the ballot box to restore the basic right to know what is in their food.

The initiative gives producers until July 1, 2014 to begin labeling genetically engineered foods and prohibits such foods as being advertised as "natural."

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