Silicon Valley’s Mercury News recently ran a piece on faith-based support for Proposition 37, legislation that would require all GMO foods sold in California to be labeled as such.
The food industry has spent a lot of money encouraging citizens to vote “no” on Prop 37, saying that the law is “misleading.” I, and many others, believe that genetic modification is potentially harmful and that, at the very least, consumers have the right to know whether or not what they’re eating and feeding to their children has been genetically modified.
(At the very least, it seems to me that the interests of good science would support clear labeling on GMO food…how can we know that they are safe if there is no reliable means of checking whether or not they are even present in a given food?)
In my forthcoming book, Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, I tentatively argue that GMOs go beyond the boundaries of what we ought to do with food and that it’s precisely this kind of nonsense–this refusal to be transparent–that makes GMOs dangerous. Beyond that, GMOs, being patented, constitute a corporate takeover of plant life itself, and have already been linked to health problems in people, plants, animals, and soil.
The United Methodist Church has issued the following statement, and the California Council of Churches has taken a stand in favor of the proposition. The UMC writes:
“The responsibility of humankind to God’s creation challenges us to examine the possibilities of genetic research and technology in a conscientious, careful and responsible way. Negative impacts on food and the environment must be strenuously avoided. […] Because of the effects of genetic technologies on all life, we call for effective guidelines and public accountability to safeguard against any action that might lead to abuse of these technologies. The risks of genetic technology that can hardly be calculated when breeding animals and plants and the negative ecological and social impact on agriculture make the use of this technology doubtful. We approve of modern methods of breeding that respect the existence of the natural borders of species.”