Arizona GMO Labeling Initiative Trying To Get On Ballot

February 12, 2014

You may get a chance to decide if you want to know whether your breakfast cereal has been made with genetically modified corn.

An initiative drive would require labels on any foods sold in Arizona that contain genetically modified ingredients. It would also require labels on meat that has been fed with GMOs.

But Julie Murphree of the Farm Bureau Federation says the labels might indicate there’s a reason for caution.

“For me personally, it's not a right to know,” Murphree said. “It's a right to create doubt in the minds and the hearts of our consumers, and we scare people enough with all the other things they have to worry about.”

Murphree says farmers have been genetically modifying crops for years through cross-breeding and domestication. But Jared Keen, the initiative’s organizer, says that’s only telling half the story.

“Splicing two plants together and giving them a chance to cultivate and grow and see what becomes of them has been part of what we've been doing for centuries,” Keen said. “This is taking the gene of a non-plant item and basically shooting it into the gene of the corn.”

Backers of the drive have until July 3 to gather nearly 173,000 valid petition signatures to put the measure on the November ballot.