Continuing to heat up after millions of dollars were poured into the fight over GMO labeling Initiative 522, both sides released TV ads this week. One thing is now illuminated. Thanks to a mock-up shown in the ads for the yes campaign, we finally get a chance to see what a label would look like.
Mock-up of label required by I-522.
Label from Australia
In the yes ads, a smiling shopper holds up a corn flakes box whose front is adorned, in fairly large type, with the words “partially produced with genetic engineering.” What’s notable about that is the label’s prominent placement on the front of the package, which is required by the initiative.
In many countries that mandate GMO labeling, like the U.K. and Australia, the information about genetic engineering is just one item on the ingredient panel found on the side of packaging.
Trucy Bialic, the public affairs director of PCC Natural Markets and one of the authors of I-522, says that federal regulations make it impossible to mandate an addition to ingredient panels without changing the law at the national level.
Whatever the reason, the effect would be to call a lot more attention to the GMO label here.
Unfortunately, the ads help explain little else about a topic that is enormously complicated and delves deeply into science. The ads of the no campaign are especially bewildering, and somewhat misleading, but they also raise interesting questions.