Don’t play with your food
Citizens for a GE-Free Butte can finally rest after they met the May 31 deadline to collect signatures to ban the growing of genetically engineered crops in Butte County. Not only did they meet their goal, but they exceeded it, said Ferdinand Choss, a volunteer.
The signatures, which volunteers began collecting in early April, were presented on Tuesday to the Butte County Elections Office and will be counted to verify how many were collected. Meeting the deadline means that the measure will likely appear on the November 4 ballot.
“Our main goal is to keep our food as original as possible because none of the genetically engineered food has been tested to see if it’s healthy,” Choss said.
Candace Grubbs, the elected county clerk recorder, said they plan to count the petitions as quickly as possible.
“A lot of work has gone into this and we want to make sure it is handled properly and efficiently,” Grubbs said.
After all of the petitions have been verified, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will choose whether to adopt the measure or put it on the November ballot, she said.
Phil LaRocca, a certified organic farmer and volunteer for Citizens of GE-Free Butte, said he believes that the use of GMO’s is affecting our food chain.
“Farmers have the right to grow what they want,” LaRocca said. “But we can’t really control the end product if they use genetically modified crops.”
LaRocca said it is also important for farmers who want to try to export their crops to support this measure because European countries will not buy food with GMOs, which he said could cause many farmers to lose money or even go bankrupt.
The concerns however, don’t necessarily lie solely on food. Lou Ann Choss, the media coordinator for the group, said that many farmers also play an important role in preventing GMOs.
“Farmers need the information to understand they are at an economic risk and that their crops are also at risk for contamination,” she said.
Even though all of the petitions are in, the group doesn’t plan on resting just yet. Choss said the group plans to start a media campaign to try to educate the voting population about genetically engineered food crops in Butte County.
“This is an issue that has been around for years but has been followed with deaf ears," Choss said.