Proposition 37, Are You For GMO Labeling or Against it?

This is an ongoing issue with donors on both sides so the numbers have already changed. The poster shows the updated numbers while the rest of the post remains the same. It’s good to see so many companies contributing on the side of changing the law in California.

 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

In the meantime, you can follow more than 1000 consumer activist sites like: Just Label It and the Non-GMO Project.

 

Sources:

http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/oct07/organics_tested_for_gmos.php

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/food-labeling.aspx

http://giannini.ucop.edu/media/are-update/files/articles/V15N6_2.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/17/prop-37-california_n_1791555.html

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26023.cfm

http://www.carighttoknow.org/who_opposes_proposition_prop_37_and_why

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21 thoughts on “Proposition 37, Are You For GMO Labeling or Against it?

  1. very informative! living in canada we aren’t currently dealing with this as much – though we aren’t too far off. the more we know, the more we can do. and we do have to DO – not just buy. at least in my opinion anyhow. well done :)

    today is the Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop – I was hoping, if you feel up for it, that you’d link up this fabulous post (and any future fabulous, seasonal and/or real food posts) with us :) Everyone is welcome so feel free to stop by. take care! xo, kristy

    • Hi Kristy,

      Thank you for your kind words, do you find labeling to be accurate there? It’s hard to tell. I’m worried that there are a lot more GMO’s that we aren’t even informed about here and elsewhere. I would love to join your blog hop thanks for mentioning it! Thanks for commenting!

      • there actually isn’t any labeling re GMOs. i think our government has slightly different regulations though regarding GMO practices – however with Harper in charge, that’s changing very quickly. i think you’re absolutely right – shit’s going down that we aren’t even aware of. multi-national corporations fund the government which means they run the government. and multi-national means no nation (or people of that nation) are safe from their scary “food” practices.

        thank you for taking the time to share with us at The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop – we hope to see you again this week with more incredible posts! xo, kristy

        • Hi Kristy,

          I’m sure Canada is slightly better than here as far as what is allowed, but GMO’s are a worldwide problem now and it will get worse before it gets better. I used to believe the best in the integrity of our country (not trying to get too political here), now I believe it’s all going downhill. GMO’s are in 80% of the food supply here and so far when something is trying to be done about it, it’s struck down. A certain large store that I never step foot in will be selling GMO corn in the fall, unlabeled.

          Thanks for coming over to read and comment!

  2. Thanks again, Lyza, for yet another important piece. I think the answer is simple:if we got a huge portion of the population to JUST STOP BUYING PROCESSED FOODS, the industry would start to listen.
    Here’s a link I think you’ll be interested in. I’ll eventually post it on my blog, when you teach me how to post links! I thought in the meantime you and some of your readers would like it. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is one of my idols in the medical/nutritional world.
    Talk to you soon.
    http://www.pasturepromise.tv/video.php?videoid=48&section=Health

    • Thanks Elena! You know that will never happen (the majority of the population eliminating processed foods, not me helping you ;-) ) Thanks for the link, I have heard her speak before, I’m sure in a year from now, I’ll be grain-free eating bison-burgers raw and fermented. :-)

    • Hi Kristiina,

      You are right, and they are proud, they hide behind the FDA’s statements because the FDA is run by Monsanto. ultimately they know that people would lose a portion of their market share if products were labeled. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Wow, what an informative post! I have to admit I rarely pay attention to “natural” or “organic” on labels anymore but stick to the ingredients though it isn’t like it will say “genetically modified tomatoes engineered to last”.

    Two of us in the house have been trying to eat a minimum of processed foods (like dark chocolate) but my younger sister eats it quite a bit. She is also the type to go for more natural products and I can see her avoided anything labeled GMO.

    One thing I know is that while we don’t know the long term effects if the product is cheaper many will still buy it whether they agree with the way it was produced or not. You brought up a lot of good points and the money put down to squash this by big corporations should astonish me… but somehow it doesn’t!

    • Hi C,
      Thank you! I agree the most important thing is to read this list of ingredients, there are so many processed ingredients in foods, whether they are organic, natural or conventional. It’s better to get a minimum of ingredients in any food we eat.

      I know that there are many people that don’t care or know or even believe that their food choices will effect them long term. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I am most certainly for it.

    I know that bananas are a GMO. I know any “hybrid” fruit or veggie is a GMO. But I am sure there are other GMOs out there that I didn’t have any idea about.

    And that scares me. So yes, I am all for labeling!

    • HI Priscilla,

      I know that corn has been in the news because Walmart is supposed to start selling GMO corn in the fall that Walmart, unlabeled. There might be more stores that do it too. There is lots of talk about other GMO foods like bananas, apples, tomatoes, but I don’t believe they are currently being sold. Supposedly, if a produce item is GMO, the PLU sticker would start with an ’8′, organic starts with ’9′ and conventional ’4′, but you can’t rely on that. Most of the GMO foods are in processed food. For example, GMO corn is used in animal feed and high fructose corn syrup and other processed corn items. Sugar beets are GMO, so anything that has sugar in it, unless it says “cane” sugar is GMO. My understanding is that ‘hybrid’ is a way that of breeding two unlike items (like a horse and donkey to make a mule) but it is different than GMO. Seedless grapes or watermelons are hybrid, they aren’t “natural in nature” but are not made using biotechnology. Some GMO items have been tried and failed. Here’s some extra reading on it: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Thanks Robin,

      I know, I’m glad that this is an important issue to so many people. Let’s hope it passes in November and makes a difference for everyone in this country and beyond. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I agree that avoiding most processed foods will drastically limit our GMO consumption, but any corn that is not “heirloom” is GMO, most soy is GMO, Papayas, Summer Squash… you name it! IT is infiltrating even the unprocessed food market at prodigious rates and needs to stop! Right now GMO’s can not be used in Organic produce but when will that change? Monsanto (and those other corporations) have a lot of money to throw at politicians and federal agencies against our (the citizen’s) well being and wishes. It is infuriating!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday :)

    • I know, they are everywhere. I din’t realize that all corn that isn’t heirloom is GMO, I thought that organic corn was safe. I know that there is a problem with cross-pollination but wouldn’t heirloom corn be affected by that too?

      There are enough iffy ingredients added to organic foods these days. I’d love to get the ingredients and right recipe to make things like cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream because the ones in the stores have added gums and carrageenan.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I’m all for it! Great summary. I agree with other commenters who have cited the incredible rise in allergies, ADD and ADHD disorders, and the increase in autism. You cannot tell me that what we’re eating doesn’t have something to do with this!

    I dont’ think any ethical company would object to labeling. Smart companies always respond to the demands of the market. I’ve noticed in the last few years how many brand-name producers have responded to the need for gluten free breads and cereals, for example. And how companies are starting to respond to consumer demand to stop using partially hydrogenated oils in their products.

    I think if consumers were able to identify genetically modfied foods and complained, reputable food producers would respond to consumer demand.

    The companies, like Monsanto, that oppose labeling are the kind of companies that don’t give a rip about their customers. They just don’t want the money to stop flowing. BOO!!!!

    • Hi Jill,

      Thanks. Have you seen the film Genetic Roulette? I have a link to it on my website (you can find it on the sidebar or posts). It is very informative and eye-opening. And for all the anti-science arguments, I feel like the movie proves GMO’s are bad for our planet.

      I agree with you that there has to be a link between GMO’s and all the things you listed above.

      I think the big food companies will continue to make highly processed foods, but if customer demand shows a drop in purchases in GMO products, I am sure they will re-formulate (maybe not healthier but not GMO). These companies are already doing it. While General Mills is contributing close to $1 million to fighting this, they also have natural and organic brands for those customers that it matters to. Personally, I stopped buying any products from companies that are fighting this. That means for General Mills I stopped buying Muir Glen, Larabar, and Food Should Taste Good brands.

      Thanks for commenting!

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