Colorado voters to weigh in on GMO food labeling

Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:15pm EDT
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By Lisa Baertlein

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Colorado voters in November will have their say on a proposition that would require labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, or GMOS.

Proponents of GMO labeling initiatives, who say they have the right to know what is in their food, have been gaining steam in the United States. Their wins have come despite well-funded opposition from GMO crop backers ranging from PepsiCo Inc to Monsanto Co who say GMOs are safe, labels will confuse consumers and switching to non-GMO ingredients would significantly increase the cost of food.

Colorado's Secretary of State on Wednesday confirmed that supporters submitted enough valid signatures to get the GMO labeling measure, which will be Proposition 105, on the Nov. 4 ballot.

"If GMOs are safe, as companies say, then why not label them on food?" Right to Know Colorado campaign Chair Larry Cooper said on Thursday.

GMOs were introduced to the public in the 1990s. More than 90 percent of U.S. corn, canola, soybean and sugar beets are GMO and those ingredients are widely used in U.S. food production in everything from snack foods and soups to strawberry-flavored milk. Organic foods do no contain GMOs.

GMO crop developers and their supporters say genetically modified crops have been overwhelmingly proven safe.

That has done little to quell a backlash from consumers and critics, who call for independent research on the impacts of GMOs on human health and the environment.

Vermont in May became the first U.S. state to mandate labeling of GMO foods. As expected, industry groups representing U.S. food makers are challenging that law.   Continued...