Guest commentary: Proposition 105: We should know what we’re eating
I am happy to announce that the hard work of more than 500 grassroots volunteers across the state, along with some paid circulators, has been successful in placing genetically modified organism labeling on the ballot in Colorado this fall as Proposition 105.
It was at times a difficult task collecting signatures, as our petitioners, exhibiting their First Amendment rights, were often asked or told by event organizers, local government officials and local law enforcement authorities to leave festivals, farmers markets, concerts and other events throughout the state.
On Aug. 4, a rally was held at the state Capitol just prior to 171,370 signatures being turned in to the Secretary of State’s Office. With a 73 percent validation rate, circulators collected 145 percent of the number of signatures, 86,105, required to place GMO labeling on the state ballot.
Colorado now joins Oregon with GMO-labeling initiatives on this fall’s ballot. Vermont was the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients in packaged foods.
Colorado may soon join 64 other countries around the globe that already require genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such.
Proposition 105 asks voters if foods modified or treated with genetically modified materials should be labeled “produced with genetic engineering” starting July 1, 2016. To view the official ballot language, visit http://www.righttoknowcolorado.org.
This ballot measure is all about transparency. If GMOs are as safe as companies indicate, then why not label them? Coloradans should not have to blindly choose what they are feeding their children and families.
Proposition 105 is not a ban on GMOs but is a reasonable requirement to label foods just as companies currently do for nutritional content. Labeling is feasible to implement, as evidenced by countries all over the world, including the entire European Union already requiring it.
Labeling genetically modified foods in countries across the globe has not caused a spike in the cost of groceries to be reported.
Labeling also should help secure Colorado jobs, as 16 out of 25 countries that import Colorado foodstuffs require GMO labeling. Labeling GMOs helps secure Colorado’s presence in these markets, including China, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.
Current regulations do not provide adequate protection to consumers. The Food and Drug Administration’s current voluntary labeling guidelines are not widely utilized, do not provide enough information and may never be mandated by the federal government.
Information is available at the Institute for Responsible Technology atwww.responsibletechnology.org and http://gmo- awareness.com.
The Food Revolution Network has more than 25 hours of recorded talks from its 2013 and 2014 summits available with different experts discussing their concerns.
There are several informative movies available, including “GMO-OMG,” “Seeds of Death” and “Genetic Roulette.” You also can Google the last Seeds of Doubt Conference held in Boulder and view it for free online. There also will be an upcoming Seeds of Doubt Conference on Oct. 11 in Broomfield.
If you are passionate about this topic and would like to financially support the campaign, please go to http://www.right toknowcolorado.org/donate.
If you would like to volunteer in your neighborhood or county, please register at http://www.right toknowcolorado.org/volunteer.
Most importantly, spread the word about GMOs to your friends and families and plan on voting in the November mail-in ballot election. Also, please encourage younger, unregistered voters to register so they also can support this important proposition.
Together, and following in the footsteps of Vermont, we can help lead the United States in joining the rest of the world in requiring transparency in our food supply.
Gary Gilman is a business owner in Eagle County.