Prop 37 Food Fight to Make California first in US to Label GMOs
Are you fed up with the genetic engineering of your food? If you live in California, Proposition 37, on November’s ballot will give you the opportunity to make it the first state with a regulation requiring clear labeling of genetically modified foods.
Japan, China and nearly fifty European countries, already label genetically engineered food. In the United States, however, products that contain genetically engineered ingredients are generally not labeled. You’ve probably seen smaller, organic growers and food companies voluntarily label their products with a seal verifying that their foods do not contain genetically modified ingredients.
What are GMOs? (via Non GMO project)
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with major health problems [such as increased food allergies and intolerances, infertility, cancer, autoimmune diseases and more], environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
According to some estimates, 40 to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Here’s what the ballot initiative would accomplish:
- Require genetically engineered foods sold in the state, including raw fruits and vegetables, to be clearly labeled as genetically engineered.
- Order the state Department of Public Health to regulate the labeling.
- Allow individuals to sue food manufacturers who violate the measure’s labeling provisions.
Most of the supporters of Prop 37 are, not surprisingly, small organic and natural foods companies, organizations, and consumers themselves. Among the main corporate sponsors, you’ll find Mercola.com, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, and Annie’s.
The list of contributors to defeat Prop 37 is a little surprising. The large majority are from outside of California, but have a vested in interest in not labeling their products.
Some of the largest opposition financial support is coming from major US food and drug companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Pepsico, Bayer, Coca Cola, Nestle, Kelloggs, Sunny Delight, Ocean Spray, Campbell’s Soup, General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Smuckers, Hormel, Hershey, McCormick, Del Monte . . . and the list goes on for pages. Here’s a link to the entire list of opposition donations as well as supporters.
Most consumers are in favor of labeling. Why shouldn’t we have the right to know what we’re eating when consumer labels are required on a mattress? This Proposition may just pass in spite of the millions invested by the companies using GMOs. If labeling is required in California, the move would probably affect labeling for all states.