A food fight has broken out on the Colorado ballot.
This election season, voters are being asked if food containing genetically modified organisms should carry a mandatory label.
Proposition 105 would require food produced using GMOs to include the tag: “Produced with genetic engineering.”
To explain the initiative and explore the realities of genetically modified food, Good Dirt Radio will present the film “Genetically Modified Foods: Panacea or Poison?” at 6:30 p.m. today at Durango Public Library.
After the 50-minute film, a panel will answer questions, and Julie Meadows of Right to Know Colorado, Proposition 105’s sponsor, will provide an overview of the initiative.
“The intention of the event is to attract people who want to learn more and haven’t decided the issue yet,” said Jules Masterjohn, outreach director for Good Dirt Radio.
Supporters of the measure, who are concerned about the effects of GMOs on the environment and human health, collected well more than the 85,000 signatures necessary to put the initiative to a vote.
Several thousand signatures were collected in Southwest Colorado, Meadows said.
The measure seeks transparency in labeling. Passage would not effect how food is grown in Colorado, but could benefit farmers who are growing non-GMO crops, Meadows said.
Opponents of the measure, including the agriculture company Monsanto, say passage of 105 would cause food costs to rise and GMOs have never been proved unsafe.
“Any claims that GMO labeling will increase the cost of food are completely unsubstantiated and fictitious,” Meadows said. “No one knows the long-term health effects of these products.”
Oregon voters will weigh in on a similar measure this fall. Earlier this year, Vermont passed a labeling regulation. Connecticut and Maine have passed labeling requirements, which would go into effect if neighboring states pass similar rules.
In addition to Meadows, panelists at tonight’s event will include:
Becky Clausen, assistant professor of sociology at Fort Lewis College.
Linley Dixon, co-owner of Adobe House Farm, who has a master’s degree in plant and soil science and a doctorate in plant pathology.
Jess Kelley, a nutritionist at Namaste Health Center.
Kirsten West, a naturopathic doctor at Namaste Health Center.
For people who cannot attend the screening, the film is available on YouTube.