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Proposition 105: Labeling Genetically Modified Food

Proposition 105: Labeling Genetically Modified Food

Story by Lauren Hammond and Sean Summers, Photo by Charine Gonzales

Author: Solomon, John/Wednesday, October 29, 2014/Categories: Community, Environment

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As the midterm election approaches, grocery stores, food suppliers and farmers around the state are becoming increasingly attentive to Proposition 105.  The proposition pushes for the labeling of foods which contain genetically modified organisms.

The proposition is in no a way a ban, nor is it meant to limit what is produced, said Becky Clausen, associate professor of the sociology department.   

“We get a lot of information on our food such as nutrition facts, and those who favor the proposition think that in order for citizens to continue to make wise and informed decisions about what they are consuming, it is important to also know if the food they are eating is genetically engineered or not,” she said.

“I think Proposition 105 is a great idea, and I personally think I have a right to know what is in my food,” said Nicoll Hunt, a staff member of the Environmental Center.  

Other students should want to know what is going into their foods too, she said.  

Hunt is hopeful that Proposition 105 will pass.  

It’s just not that difficult of a requirement for companies to put a label on their product that indicates whether it is genetically modified or not, she said.

“I don’t know why people wouldn’t want to know what’s in their food,” Hunt said.

Durango Natural Foods Co-op will not directly be affected by the bill, however the grocery store would see changes in local producers’ practices if the bill passes, said Adam Mazzarella, the lead grocer at DNF.

If passed, the bill could translate into higher costs for farmers in the region, which may or may not translate to higher costs for consumers, he said.

“This might actually make mainstream companies less desirable to consumers,” Hunt said.

If anything, GMO labeling is going to hurt genetically modified products, she said. Consumers aren’t going to want to buy genetically modified products and at some point these corporations are going to have to lower their prices.

While Proposition 105 is a good start to raising GMO awareness, the legislation still allows for loopholes in labeling, said Rachel Bennett, the produce manager at Durango Natural Foods.

Humans keep getting closer and closer to seeing these other species, plant or animals, as merely commodities that are meant to increase profit, Clausen said.

Consumer awareness of what foods contain GMOs is important because it can make consumers aware of food allergies, helps to raise awareness about environmental impacts of agriculture, and makes identifying organic foods simpler, Bennett said.

When formulating this type of policy, we should start at the state level, not the federal level, Clausen said.

Colorado would be the second state, after Vermont, to implement such legislation.  There are also 64 other nations in the world that have such policy.

“This is not a radical proposition. When exporting products to the European Union, some companies are already doing this,” Clausen said.

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