A ballot initiative is moving to California voters in November that would require foods made or produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to bear “clear and conspicuous” labels saying so.
A group of consumer and food activists, including organic food interests, calling itself the “Committee for the Right to Know,” has reported that it has collected nearly 1 million signatures on a petition seeking to place the initiative on the ballot. California law requires that about 550,000 of those signatures must be registered voters in the state.
It’s expected that election officials will need several weeks to validate the signatures.
The “California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food” measure would require GMO labels for all raw agricultural commodities produced with GMOs, such as corn and soybeans, and for all processed foods sold at retail if more than 0.5% of a food has a genetically modified ingredient in it.
The measure would also prevent such foods from being labeled as “natural.”
The measure does not apply to certain foods, including those that are “certified organic” or “made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves,” which means that the measure does not apply to dairy products, meat and poultry as long as the livestock and poultry were not genetically modified.
It also does not apply to food sold in restaurants.
A spokesperson for the committee that’s carrying the petition said the measure would allow Californians to have important information on which to choose food that they buy and eat, especially in light of the Food & Drug Administration’s decision not to require the labeling of GMO food.