*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
– What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
– What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
– What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
– What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?
Proposition 105 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Mandatory Labeling of GMOs
ALSO KNOWN AS: Stickers on Genetically Modified Foods
Official Ballot Language for Proposition 105:
"Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, "Produced With Genetic Engineering" starting on July 1, 2016; exempting some foods including but not limited to food from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food; requiring the Colorado department of public health and environment to regulate the labeling of genetically modified food; and specifying that no private right of action is created for failure to conform to the labeling requirements?”
…In Other Words:
Proposition 105 would mandate new labeling requirements for food that is genetically modified or produced with genetic engineering. The label “Produced with Genetic Engineering” would be required as of July 1, 2016, with exceptions for certain foods for immediate consumption; alcoholic beverages; and food for animals (if you are eating dog food, you probably don’t much care about GMOs).
If you know what “GMO” means, you probably already have a position on this issue. Supporters of Prop 105 say that enhanced labeling is already standard practice in many countries, including much of Europe. Their principal argument is that consumers should have a right to know more about what goes into their food and how their food is produced, though you could certainly argue that there are some things better left un-knowed (like how sausage is made, for example).
Opponents of Prop 105 argue that new labeling could make food more expensive; food producers would probably pass along any increased costs to the consumer. There are also concerns that Colorado food producers could be put at a disadvantage compared to those from non-GMO labeling states, and that costs for implementing the new law have not been adequately explored.
Aside from financial concerns, Prop 105 opponents worry that the labeling requirements could appear too vague in their broadness. The phrase “Produced with Genetic Engineering” probably has a very different meaning to different people. Prop 105 opponents should also worry that they picked a horrible name for their website; Noon105.com sounds like a new easy-listening radio station.
Who Supports Proposition 105?
Groups such as Conservation Colorado; grocery chains including Alfalfa’s Market and Whole Foods; and actor Danny DeVito (no, really), among others.
Who Opposes Proposition 105?
The Colorado Farm Bureau; the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; and a whole bunch of food-specific organizations (such as the Beet Sugar Association) are opposed.
The Horse Race (Will Proposition 105 Pass or Fail?)
This is a tough contest to predict. There are plenty of resources being spent by either side, and there are solid arguments to be made one way or the other. The ballot language is fairly complicated – particularly compared to Prop 104 – and that won’t help its cause. But while the loudest opposition to Prop 105 comes (obviously) from more rural areas of the state, it will be the urban/suburban voters of Metro Denver and Boulder that will decide the outcome. If we had to guess, we’d say Prop 105 passes; the arguments in favor are quite a bit simpler than those in opposition, and the general idea of more transparency in food production is compelling in itself.