Ever been told to put something into your mouth, without actually knowing what it is? Well, if so, you probably know that it can be quite an uncomfortable and adventurous experience. But have you ever considered the fact that, sometimes, you might only think you know what you are eating, when in all actuality you are just as oblivious as when you eat that “mystery food” someone hands you? Knowledge when it comes to food consumption is a hot debate in California right now. Proposition 37 is a controversial bill in the upcoming November election. Basically, it calls for a mandate that all companies provide clear labels on their foods to let consumers know whether or not they have been genetically engineered (GE) in any way.
The proposition has received quite an outpouring of support, having been signed by 1 million Californians. In addition, several notable celebrities have joined the cause and rallied to get support for the bill. “What makes you think you have the right to know?” asked Danny DeVito sarcastically when discussing the issue. Jillian Michaels, a fitness expert, commented on the issue, saying “The ability to make an informed choice about what you feed your family is a right no American should be denied.”
Interestingly, not everyone is “on board” with this new proposition. Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, of Forbes magazine, write “[The proposition] might sound reasonable and seem to reflect how our choice-driven marketplace works, but there are several problems with it. For starters, GE foods are not in any way a meaningful ‘category,’ which makes any choice of what to include wholly arbitrary. Nor are they unsafe or any less ‘natural’ than thousands of other common foods.” This idea of food being safe or unsafe due to genetic engineering seems to be quite debatable for the public right now. In addition to Conko and Miller, many food and pesticide companies seem to be against the proposition, as they would be required to divulge information about genetically engineered foods with the public.
Rebecca Spector, director of the Center for Food Safety West Coast said “Food labeling empowers Americans to take control of what we eat, but 90 percent of Americans who want to know if their food is produced using genetic engineering are denied this freedom because these products are not required to be labeled in the U.S….Prop 37 is a reasonable response to government inaction to label GE foods.”
Remember, knowledge is power. Being informed about what you are eating is always a plus, and as it is quite a hot topic right now, it’s good to “know your stuff” so you can have a voice in food safety, no matter what your opinion on the matter might be. You can find the full articles at: