In the United States the public in California voted no to a proposition that genetically modified foods should be labeled as such. In Europe GMO crops are still not permitted.
Here’s my take on the issue:
Proposition 37 failed to win majority of votes in California yesterday for the Nov. 6th election. This was perhaps on the grounds of the proposition itself being poorly put together. The American Academy of the Advancement of Science endorsed the “No to Proposition 37” campaign on the grounds of lacking scientific evidence that GMO crops causes harm. However, that isn’t the point. Consumers should have a right to know what is in their food. Too bad about the weak study and lacking scientific evidence that caused much media hype coming out of France last month. It entirely back-fired and served Monsanto well and put the entire debate on weaker ground. But there seems to be universal agreement that scientifically, no conclusive evidence has shown that GMO crops cause harm to human health. It’s just going to remain a personal issue what one believes, but my gut instinct tells me that genetically altering crops and proteins that we ingest on a daily basis is going to have unprecedented and unknown long-term health sequelae that we cannot even fathom today based on the science that takes years to emerge. Just like some grains that have mutated over the centuries of human existence are known to cause autoimmune diseases in some people lacking the enzymes to assimilate them, these GMO crops are likely changing the inherent natural state of certain foods way faster than our human guts and bacteria may be able to evolve to process and recognize them. At least based on theory. Whether GMO crops are harmless or harmful to human health will remain a personal opinion without the scientific evidence. But it should remain a choice whether one wants to eat processed foods with genetically altered ingredients or not. And this proposition would have allowed consumers to make precisely those personalized choices when shopping for foods. A better, more cogent proposition for clearer labeling should be drafted that will avoid confusion among consumers already confused about food choices. Foods labeled as organic in the U.S. cannot be GMO, so that is already a smart way for consumers concerned for their health to make their choices.
And here is a link to a NPR (national public radio) report on this today: