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Prop. 37: Another example of the perils of the initiative process?

| | September 20, 2012
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Love it or hate it, the one thing you can say for sure about California’s ballot initiative process is that it’s the absolute worst way to craft policy dealing with complex scientific issues.

That doesn’t stop advocates on one side or another from constantly trying, with the result that the public’s understanding of the underlying facts plummets faster than you can say, well, “Proposition 37.”

Proposition 37 is on November’s ballot. The measure would require some, but not all, food sold in California and produced via genetic engineering to be labeled as such. (There are exemptions for milk, restaurant food and other products.)

Genetic engineering, or genetic modification, which involves manipulating DNA or transferring it from one species to another, is increasingly common in agriculture and food processing, and wouldn’t be banned or even regulated by the measure. Genetic engineering has pluses and minuses. It can increase crop yields and pest resistance. But it can also affect the environment in negative ways — pollen or seeds from genetically engineered crops can be spread by wind, birds or insects to territory where they’re unwanted, for example.

View the original article here: Prop. 37: Another example of the perils of the initiative process?

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