Essay about Ge Food Labels

Submitted By morganelaine84
Words: 1200
Pages: 5

Labeling of GE Foods
December 3, 2012

This year’s election ballot included many new and controversial propositions. Proposition 37 was no exception. In California, Proposition 37 regarded labeling Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods. GE Foods is the name given to foods that consist of genetically engineered ingredients that are used to develop mew plant and animal varieties that are later used as a source of food by the general public. Known as the “Right to Know” act, Proposition 37 addressed the food labeling process stating that it would be useful to consumers that food products be clearly marked and labeled if they contained GE ingredients. Bottom line, a “yes” vote for Proposition 37 would mean that “genetically engineered foods sold in California would have to be specifically labeled as being genetically engineered” (Proposition 37: Genetically engineered foods, 2012). On the surface, this would help consumers make informed decisions about what they are feeding themselves and their families. This sounds like a no-brainer vote. Of course I want to know what is in the food my family and I consume. However, as with many propositions, 37 is highly deceiving when it comes to the positives out weighing the negatives. Through research, I learned that this proposition was not going to be as effective as it was advertised and that it would cost consumers more money in the long run. I voted no. Proposition 37 was voted on during the November election. Although the proposition did not pass, I feel that it is important to still discuss the deceptiveness of Proposition 37 as it will probably be included in future ballots. While on the surface, Proposition 37 seemed like a dream. Of course it would be nice to have all genetically modified foods labeled. But what, exactly does “genetically modified” mean? Proposition 37 made it seem that GM foods were horrible, health risk foods. The use of the term “genetically modified foods” gives a negative connotation. In actuality, the process “allows the cultivation of specific biological traits…to happen virtually instantaneously. By doing so, producers can make food more nutritious, better-tasting, more disease-resistant, or less pesticide-intensive” (Senik, 2012). That definition certainly does not drone up horrible images. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Henry Miller, a biomedical scientist and former FDA drug regulator argued recently in Forbes, “The safety record of genetically engineered plants and foods derived from them is extraordinary. Even after the cultivation worldwide of more than 3 billion acres of genetically engineered crops (by more than 14 million farmers) and the consumption of more than 3 trillion servings of food by inhabitants of North America alone, there has not been a single ecosystem disrupted or a single confirmed adverse reaction” (Miller, 2012). If future propositions, like 37, pass then the mandatory labels (like those required by Proposition 37) would convey none of this information. There would be no list of how the consumer may benefit from the GE ingredients included in the product. Instead, these labels would imply that the buyer needs to be warned of unspecified dangers that could come from consuming the food. This is just one of the deceptions of Proposition 37, and other similar propositions that could make their way on to the next ballot. Another hidden negative effect of a food labeling proposition is that compliance would inflate cost in every area from distribution to higher prices in the grocery stores. The California Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office states that it would cost taxpayers millions of dollars by forcing food products to be repackaged with GE labels. Further, more costs could be incurred through having to remake products with higher priced ingredients to avoid having to be labeled with GE labels. Had Proposition 37 passed, the average California family might be paying up to $400