Prop. 105 brings GMO issue to Colo. ballot |

Prop. 105 brings GMO issue to Colo. ballot

GMO’s, shorthand for Genetically Modified Organisms, have become something of a buzzword over the last few years.

This November Colorado voters will decide whether to require a label of “Produced With Genetic Engineering” for any food item that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material.

If approved the proposition would not apply to food for animals, alcoholic beverages and several other categories of consumables.

The proposition states, “Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, ‘Produced With Genetic Engineering’ starting on July 1, 2016; exempting some foods including but not limited to food from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food; requiring the Colorado department of public health and environment to regulate the labeling of genetically modified food; and specifying that no private right of action is created for failure to conform to the labeling requirements?”

The GMO labeling movement has been working to get similar measures placed on ballots throughout the nation. A similar proposition was rejected in California in 2012. GMO labeling measures are on the ballot in Colorado and Oregon this year.

Larry Cooper, co-chair of the Yes on 105/Right to Know Colorado GMO, is part of the organization that got Prop. 105 on the ballot this year.

“This is a very reasonable law that balances transparency with economic development,” Cooper said. “These are genetically engineered foods. They are actually changing the seeds so they are something that does not occur in nature.”

According to Cooper 85 to 90 percent of prepackaged food contains genetically engineered products.

Cooper pointed out that the proposition would not change the Colorado Constitution and that it is not a ban on GMOs.

Local reaction

Morales Farms of Granby is one of the few agriculture ventures in Grand County growing produce for human consumption. Carol Morales spoke favorably about the measure, though she noted it would have little to no effect over their business.

“When we purchase our seeds for growing, all our seeds are organic. We are very adamant about that and always have been,” she said. “We don’t use or support genetically modified seeds. We do not use any type of genetically engineered seeds.”

Opponents of Prop. 105 say the measure doesn’t tell consumers which foods contain GMOs and which do not. According to the Colorado Farm Bureau, which opposes Prop 105, the Proposition arbitrarily exempts two-thirds of all foods sold. Opponents also claim the measure will create new costs and add additional red tape that will hurt Colorado farmers, food companies and grocery stores.

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