Polls have shown that the majority of American consumers support labeling of genetically modified foods and the ballot measure under debate in California, prop 37, has a strong likelihood of passing. It calls for mandatory labeling of foods containing GMO and prohibits products exceeding the threshhold from marketing themselves as “natural.” It does not mandate where that communication falls on the package. Nor does it prohibit the production or sale of products with genetically modified ingredients.
As widely reported recently, in the first ever study to examine the long-term effects of Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, or the NK603 Roundup-resistant GM maize, scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumours and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females, compared with 23 and 14 months respectively for a control group. GM crops have been approved for human consumption on the basis of 90-day animal feeding trials. But three months is the equivalent of late adolescence in rats, who can live for up to 24 months.
A global perspective: As European consumers are far more critical of GMO and are far further down the regulatory path than the US, having passed a comparable labeling requirement in 1997- 15 years ago. Resistance in both Europe and the US to GM foods is based on long-term human safety concerns. There is significant concern that GMO crops spread outside intended fields, reducing biodiversity and affecting the broader ecosystem including bee colony health. There are also economic concerns as the organisms are subject to intellectual property law.
Several countries including Australia, Japan, China and the European Union have mandatory labeling laws. The European Union requires the most stringent, requiring labeling of food products, food ingredients and additives that contain authorized GE ingredients. These regulations also recognize that conventional food products may be accidentally contaminated during harvesting, storage or production, so that if the traces of GMOs are below a limit of 0.9%, labeling is not required.(2) Prop 37 in California requires more onerous labeling, with nearly tolerating only 0.5% GE content.
Recently,French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayraul announced that France will be maintaining a key ban on the only remaining GMO currently allowed in Europe (MON810). France generates 25% of the total EU agricultural product.
Germany has banned the use of MON810.
Peru banned Monsanto’s GMOs for 10 years.
Hungary has uprooted the GMO crops entirely.
In September, 2011 a court in Brazil has ruled that Nestle label all of its products with over 1 percent GMO. This ruling came about after Nestle's strawberry flavored cookies were found to have transgenic material (genetically modified soy). All food products containing GM content will now have to have a label: a yellow triangle with 'T' in the middle and the word ”transgenic”.
In Kyrgyzstan: a parliamentary committee ordered the government to develop mechanisms of imposing a ban on genetically modified food