New Mexico Hoping to Label GMOs

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Even after a terrible loss last month, when Californians were distraught over their GMO labeling initiative, Proposition 37 being defeated by a multi-million dollar lobby, just slightly east, one lawmaker is still hoping to make a similar change.

New Mexico Senator Peter Wirth has introduced an amendment that would make it mandatory for products in grocery stores containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such. Even though his bill would not be debated until next year, Wirth is passionate that he can carry on the legacy of Prop 37, which enlightened so many individuals on the truth behind GMOs.

His proposal reads, “The premise of this amendment is simple – New Mexicans deserve the right to know what’s in the food they are eating and feeding to their families. Labeling GE foods and feed will empower consumers with basic information to help them decide for themselves the type of food they want to buy.”

Senator Wirth is already gaining support by anti-GMO activists in his state. Strong corporate interest from biotechnology companies such as Monsanto and DuPont was what led to Prop 37’s defeat, which is a reason for New Mexicans to be wary of the new amendment.

Giving foods with GE ingredients a label will only improve and expand independent health and scientific knowledge about genetic engineering,” noted Eleanor Bravo, Food & Water Watch’s New Mexico Organizer regarding Wirth’s proposed amendment. “We need the research of genetic engineering to be expanded beyond the companies who own the seeds and stand to profit and labeling will allow this to happen.”

As this is a step in the direction of informing consumers of the dangers they are potentially buying, forcing companies, even corrupt ones to follow a rule that they are not mandated to do under the Constitution, is unlawful. Fortunately, this is a state legislation rather than a federal one, but couldn’t it be up to the people rather than the government to inform others and decide for themselves if those companies deserve the business they are receiving?

After all, Prop 37 was defeated by the inevitable power that biotech giants hold in Washington, so how likely are the chances that Senator Wirth’s good-intended amendment will pass? Similarly, the Hunter Public Relation’s annual food survey showed that one of the most influential topics of 2012 were GMOs, a clear indication that people are becoming aware of the potential health effects without the government needing to enforce labels.

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