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Published on Sep 28, 2012
A new and unexpected voice has come out in support of Proposition 37, the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Troy Roush, an Indiana farmer featured in the 2009 documentary Food, Inc., grows GMO corn and soybeans. He also agrees with 65 percent of Californians who believe consumers have the right to know what's in their food.
Troy's message from Food, Inc. in 2009 remains true today: Let the market decide. If consumers demand healthy food, farmers will grow more of it. Supply and demand, pretty simple.
Central to that idea is transparency, but industry would rather determine how food is produced in this country and not let consumers decide for themselves. That's why agrichemical companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and the "Big 6" pesticide/seed companies have spent over $32 million to fight Prop 37. They also know that an estimated 70 percent of processed foods contain GMO ingredients and that genetically engineered salmon and the non-browning "Arctic Apple" are on the horizon, whether consumers like it or not.
As much as opponents of the initiative may talk about the cost or confusion of labeling, more than 50 countries already mandate labeling, and in Troy's words, "It's not a big deal."
Industry is by itself on this issue, out on a limb. Consumers want labeling. Farmers want labeling. This isn't a debate about biotechnology, it's about the basic right to know.
To add your voice to the labeling discussion, visit the California Right to Know campaign and sign the petition asking the FDA to Just Label It! For a good summary of how to best tell which foods may contain GMO ingredients click here. For a more comprehensive look at the sustainability of GMO technology, see the National Research Council.