Tomorrow is voting day! Please read why it is so important to vote yes on Proposition 37 in California. Which side are you going to believe? We have a right to know what is in our food! Polls are looking negative so please, please, please if you live in California consider who is backing the ‘No on 37′ position. (Reuters)
I wonder what is important to you. Do you feel frustrated (or fus-ter-ated as my daughter says) by the utter prevalence of GMO’s, or do you not care? Genetically Modified Foods are everywhere and it is nearly impossible to avoid them.
In the upcoming election in California, there is a fight for and against Proposition 37: the initiative to label GMO’s. There is a lot of opposition to the proposed law. Obviously, it has been put forward because people want to know. I don’t know enough about the long-term effects of bioengineered foods, so I want to avoid them. Also, I know that a lot of genetically engineered foods are engineered to withstand heavy pesticide sprays. I want to avoid pesticides too. I also worry about other people’s health. If food is labeled for what it is, “genetically modified”, then more people can be informed about the foods that they eat. The scales are tipped substantially on the side of the corporations with the most money that it doesn’t seem like a fair fight. It makes me angry that it might be up to them. Sometimes it feels like America is the last industrialized nation to get on the labeling boat.
In the countries where GMO’s are labeled, people still buy genetically modified foods. It doesn’t matter to everyone. It isn’t like everyone would stop buying products labeled as genetically modified. If, everyone stopped buying foods that contained genetically engineered food, then that would signal to stop producing frankenfoods. Then how would agribusiness make money?
The proverbial line in the sand is drawn; organic food groups, consumer activists (like Consumer’s Union and Cornucopia Institute) and lawyers are for the proposition, and food manufacturers, retailers and agribusiness (like Bayer Cropscience and Dow Agrosciences) are against it. All the acronyms are against labeling too: the FDA, USDA, WHO and AMA. But… 92% of Americans want to know.
According to Monsanto, which (obviously) opposes mandatory labeling, there is no point in labeling. They claim, since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t believe there is a difference, and the American Medical Association claim that there is no scientific proof that bioengineered foods differ from other foods, then changing our country’s labeling system, which is based on “health and safety” hurts regulatory agencies when there is “no” health and safety risk. In fact, they say:
Requiring labeling for ingredients that don’t pose a health issue would undermine both our labeling laws and consumer confidence.
Monsanto believes so strongly that we shouldn’t label biogenetic foods that they have contributed $4,208,000. Wow, they really oppose this issue.
If it’s good for Monsanto then it isn’t good for us.
Monsanto isn’t the only company that is against GMO Labeling. Opponents of the law have contributed over $25 million. Pouring over the list of contributions of those who oppose Proposition 37 is a daunting task. Looking at the list, I question whether I want to support companies if they don’t support my right to know. Because they aren’t labeling their foods GMO-free on their own.
If it were up to me alone, I would avoid all the companies that actively oppose labeling. It would be easy since I already do for the most part. You know, companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Smuckers, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Hormel, DelMonte, Dean Foods, Hershey, Cambell Soups and Conagra are all against labeling. Sorry, but I don’t really fall into agreement with any of those said companies generally— I’m not convinced by their fight. What happens to the smaller companies owned by the few top corporations? Companies like Muir Glen, Food Should Taste Good, Cascadian Farms and Larabar who are all owned by General Mills, who has contributed more than half a million dollars against labeling GMO’s. Those brands are all organic or natural, all of whom are probably against GMO’s, but when their parent company spends $@##@ to fight against labeling GMO’s. If they are part of a bigger corporation then perhaps we do not want to support those companies either (especially at the prices they charge!).
If you wanted to avoid companies that actively fought (by contributing money) your right to know you could start by looking at the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association’s (GMA) 300 dues-paying members— it is the highest priority for the GMA to defeat the proposition this year. You probably won’t be surprised to see the names.
The worry is that with mandatory labeling it will make conventional foods either use inferior ingredients or raise prices. Now, I believe in eating healthier foods, not processed junk food in the first place, but not everyone feels that way.
By the way, who said agribusiness could replace traditionally bred plants with biotechnology without telling us?
We have not seen voluntary labeling from conventional foods, so it is safe to assume that all of those foods contain GMO’s. Then, there are all the “natural” products, sold in the natural sections of stores or in natural food-stores— those are said to contain GMO’s as well— like Kellogg’s Kashi.
“Natural” and “naturally grown,” won’t be allowed either, so that’s good. No more being tricked by deceptive marketing. Because natural isn’t a trustworthy word anymore.
Unfortunately, certified organic foods, animal products, restaurants, alcoholic beverages, are exempt from the proposed law. If there are all these exemptions then it means you still have to be aware of what you’re buying. I don’t want to be given a false sense of security.
If all those exemptions are allowed from Proposition 37 then I wish they weren’t. As it is, organic foods could contain a certain amount of approved non-organic ingredients (some of which could be GMO), so bioengineered ingredients can be included and not be disclosed. It isn’t right. Still though, the conventional food you buy in the grocery store would be labeled.
The same product, one organic and the other conventional, could both contain the same amount of GMO’s, but the organic one doesn’t have to test or label their product while the conventional product would have to either change their product or change their label.
If The organic companies and consumer activists that carry the same beliefs that I have are proponents of Proposition 37, then I will rather follow their lead.
It is said that scientists are against labeling too. Those scientists deny any evidence of dangers with GE foods. They don’t have an answer for food allergies doubling since 1996. Not all scientists feel that way anyway. Critics say:
“It is impossible to trace any food allergies or other ill effects suffered by humans or animals…”
GE foods have been around for about 20 years, and in that time, we have seen allergies sky-rocket. Shouldn’t scientists prove that bioengineered foods have nothing to do with allergies before saying there is no significant difference? I might be stating the obvious here but, growing up, I don’t remember knowing kids with allergies. There is further concern that if a known-allergy food is injected into another food that a person could be fed that bioengineered food and suffer an allergic reaction to it. There is no limit to the possibilities.
However some say the proposition goes too far with zero tolerance of GMO contamination by 2019 (I’m okay with that!). It is well-known that there is seed-contamination, whether a company is organic or non-GMO it is almost impossible to avoid.There are certain independent organic companies like Eden and Nature’s Path who want to be GMO-free and agree that organic foods should be tested for GMO-contamination. (Eden and Nature’s Path are for labeling!)
Who pays the bill for testing though? Will it fall on the consumer ultimately? Labeling in other countries have not affected the price to consumers, so we shouldn’t assume that it will here, even if the ‘No on 37′ people say so.
Costs of testing should fall on the companies that produce GMO-seeds.
I’m not sure mandatory labeling is the best possibility, nor the answer with all the exemptions. But, and the bottom line is that consumers have the right to know, like they do in so many other countries. If it doesn’t pass, then hopefully it will put pressure on the industry to do voluntary labeling.
Voluntary is better than mandatory.
Look, I want to know if foods contain GE foods and I would feel better if something were labeled whether they contain such ingredients or not. As it is, I panic every time I bring something home. However, since many companies don’t voluntarily tell us, then we should assume that all non-organic products containing corn, soy, and canola are bioengineered.
I don’t know if it’s a perfect law, but I know if I lived in California then I would vote for it. I would rather know, and since the biggest opponents of the proposed law are the biggest proponents of GMO’s then I don’t buy their argument, period.
If you would like to donate to the campaign I will give you a link for ‘YES’ at CA right to know