Aug 21 Colorado voters in November will have
their say on a proposition that would require labels on foods
that contain genetically modified ingredients, or GMOS.
Proponents of GMO labeling initiatives, who say they have
the right to know what is in their food, have been gaining steam
in the United States. Their wins have come despite well-funded
opposition from GMO crop backers ranging from PepsiCo Inc
to Monsanto Co who say GMOs are safe, labels
will confuse consumers and switching to non-GMO ingredients
would significantly increase the cost of food.
Colorado's Secretary of State on Wednesday confirmed that
supporters submitted enough valid signatures to get the GMO
labeling measure, which will be Proposition 105, on the Nov. 4
"If GMOs are safe, as companies say, then why not label them
on food?" Right to Know Colorado campaign Chair Larry Cooper
said on Thursday.
GMOs were introduced to the public in the 1990s. More than
90 percent of U.S. corn, canola, soybean and sugar beets are GMO
and those ingredients are widely used in U.S. food production in
everything from snack foods and soups to strawberry-flavored
milk. Organic foods do no contain GMOs.
GMO crop developers and their supporters say genetically
modified crops have been overwhelmingly proven safe.
That has done little to quell a backlash from consumers and
critics, who call for independent research on the impacts of
GMOs on human health and the environment.
Vermont in May became the first U.S. state to mandate
labeling of GMO foods. As expected, industry
groups representing U.S. food makers are challenging that law.
Oregon also will have a GMO labeling initiative on its
Dozens of other states have considered similar measures this
year. The effort failed in California, where massive spending by
GMO labeling opponents led to a stinging defeat in 2012.
Connecticut and Maine already have passed laws that would go
into effect if other northeastern states approve similar
With much at stake, the developers of genetically modified
crops and the $360 billion U.S. packaged food industry have
taken their fight to the nation's capital, where they are
pushing for passage of a bill in Congress that would nullify any
state law to require labeling of GMO foods.
Some U.S. companies already have opted to label GMOs or
eliminate them from their supply chain.
Natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Markets Inc
has announce that it will require all products sold in its U.S.
and Canadian stores to carry a GMO label by 2018. Popular
burrito seller Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc has removed
virtually all GMOs from its supply chain. And, after a push from
consumers, General Mills Inc said it would reformulate
its "yellow box" Cheerios to remove GMOs.
(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; editing
by Andrew Hay)