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Colorado: Next to vote on GMO labeling?

Coloradans seem to reflect the wider sentiment of support seen nationwide for mandatory GMO labeling. Food Consumer reported Monday that supporters of the Right to Know Colorado Ballot Initiative #48 are confident that they have more than the needed 86,105 valid signatures in order to put the initiative before voters in the statewide fall election. A rally and press conference is scheduled for Monday, August 4, 9:30 am at the Colorado State Capitol to mark the official submission of the required signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State.

Mondays rally will feature a variety of speakers active within the Right to Know campaign as well as Food Democracy Now Directors, David Murphy & Lisa Stokke, and Robyn O’Brien, who leads a "for purpose" nonprofit and is a best-selling author, public speaker, and mother of four. Robyn’s eye-opening first book, The Unhealthy Truth, led to her being called "food's Erin Brockovich" by the New York Times. She has been named by SHAPE Magazine as a “Women to Shape the World”, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, by Forbes Woman as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter,” and by The Discovery Channel as one of its 15 Top Visionaries.

The Right to Know initiative has been supported by a grassroots campaign of more than 500 volunteers and circulators who advocate for Coloradans’ right to know how our food is made – and for the freedom to choose for their own families based on accurate information, consumer transparency, and truth in labeling. It is estimated that in upwards of 80% of the processed food in the United States contains genetically modified ingredients, primarily from genetically modified corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets. While the biotech industry continuously contends that the genetically modified ingredients are safe a growing number of consumers disagree.

In fact, according to an ABC News poll conducted in June of this year, “Barely more than a third of the public believes that genetically modified foods are safe to eat. Instead, 52 percent believe such foods are unsafe, and an additional 13 percent are unsure about them. That's broad doubt on the very basic issue of food safety.” The poll also found, amazingly, “Nearly everyone, moreover — 93 percent — says the federal government should require labels on food saying whether it's been genetically modified, or "bio-engineered" (this poll used both phrases).” Pollsters noted, in this age of polarity, “Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.”

Not everyone in the local Denver community supports the initiative though, the most notable opponent could perhaps be James Bertini, owner of Denver Urban Homesteading, who states on his website, “Obviously Denver Urban Homesteading and its farmers do not support the use of genetically modified food. And we support the concept of labeling. However, this law has no exception for small markets…My Russian wife, who was born and raised in the USSR, told me that even the Communists didn't try to regulate farmers markets.”

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