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Why you should care about a California proposition to label GMOs

On October 1, New Yorkers are dining out to support Proposition 37, which would require labels on products with genetically modified ingredients.

On October 1, organic advocates are coming together in New York to support Proposition 37, a law that would mandate labeling for foods that contain genetically modified (GMO) ingredients—on the opposite coast.

“The California vote is not just about California. It really impacts everyone,” says organic food blogger Max Goldberg. “If California approves GMO labeling, it will encourage other states to do the same.”

GMOs are food products that have had their DNA altered (i.e. fused with DNA from other organisms) in order to make them resistant to pesticides. About 80 percent of processed foods are believed to contain GMOs, and their effect on long-term health is unknown. Currently more than 40 countries, including the EU, require that foods containing GMOs are labeled, but the U.S. does not.

Advocates say that labeling will allow consumers to make informed choices, whether they want to avoid GMOs or not. So, they’re moving state-by-state in hopes that the federal government will eventually catch up. “There’s a lot of momentum,” says Goldberg, who’s hosting the fundraiser to help pass Proposition 37 on October 1, at Gustorganics, with North Carolina-based blogger Vani Hari and sponsors like Nutiva, Organic Avenue, and Gnosis Chocolate.

New Yorkers can join him to learn more about GMOs, the different labeling campaigns that are currently underway, and to enjoy a four-course meal made with, of course, all-organic, non-GMO ingredients. —Lisa Elaine Held

Monday, October 1, 7:30 p.m., $100 (Proceeds go to California Right to Know), Gustorganics, 519 Sixth Avenue, between 13th and 14th Sts. Buy tickets here.