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Blog: Prop 37, Labeling GMOs

Prop. 37 is a well-written proposition, by a diligent group of food industry, food policy, farm, science and health experts, which is being distorted by a $44-million campaign of lies.

I'm dismayed to see that there's any question whatsoever about voting YES on Proposition 37 (label GMOs). It is, to quote several members of the Los Angeles City Council when they unanimously voted to endorse it last week, "A no-brainer." 

There is a massive disinformation campaign going on from every outlet—TV, radio, mass mailings—being funded by the same folks who told us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange are safe (they're not), and none of what they're saying is true. Stanford University even forced them to take one commercial off the air because they represented the spokesperson as a Stanford professor, which he wasn't. That should tell you all you need to know about the opposition's integrity.

I've been working on Prop. 37 almost since its inception and would like to set the record straight:

Proposition 37 is a well-written, well-researched proposition, put together by a diligent group of food industry, food policy, farm, science and health experts, several of whom I know and trust implicitly.

Proposition 37 specifically only addresses genetically-engineered crops sold whole or as ingredients in other food items, to make it as easy as possible for stores and companies to comply. These crops include: corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini, and crookneck squash. California law requires that ballot measures only address one state code at a time. Items not included in Proposition 37—alcohol and meat—are covered by different state or federal codes and therefore do not apply.

There is a strong precedent to Proposition 37 in the U.S.: The 2004 Food Allergen Labeling Act protects consumers by requiring labeling of possible allergens like peanuts, soy and dairy. When Congress approved it, the same food companies objected and made the same claims, yet, when the Act went into force, stores and companies complied, prices remained stable, there was no excessive or abusive litigation, and consumers had more information with which to protect themselves (we have all seen the labels, “This product made on equipment which may have once touched peanuts”).

Proposition 37 offers no economic incentives for lawyers to sue.  The only new enforcement provision added by Prop. 37 allows a consumer to sue only for an order to force required labeling to take place—not to recover any money at all.  Consumers cannot file a class action without first giving notice, and if the defendant fixes the labels, then no class action is permitted. Any penalties from a violation go only to the state, not the plaintiff or lawyer.

Proposition 37 does not include a “bounty hunter” provision like Proposition 65, which lets the plaintiff keep one-quarter of any civil penalty on top of an award of attorney’s fees. The same chemical companies making claims about lawsuits are themselves suing farmers across the country for saving their own seeds.

Food prices remained stable when the European Union required the labeling of GMOs ten years ago. Sixty-one countries across the globe either label GMOs or ban them completely, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Peru, India, China and Russia. Why on Earth do people in Russia and China have more rights to know what’s in their food than we do? That’s not the country I grew up in.

Creates paperwork? Anyone who believes farmers who use Monsanto seeds don't already keep reams of paperwork to address the patent protection situation, aren't paying attention.

The grassroots effort that became Proposition 37 was started by a fearless, feisty grandmother from Chico, Pamm Larry, who couldn’t believe that genetically-engineered foods weren’t already being labeled. She called together some friend to help, those friends became a people’s movement which gathered nearly a million signatures to get her GMO labeling initiative on the ballot this Tuesday.

If you have other questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them. This is one of the most important issues of our time and California has the opportunity to lead the way towards greater transparency and a more level playing field (organic farmers are not federally subsidized; GMO farmers are), which is what our free market economy is supposed to be all about.

To sum up: Vote Yes on Prop. 37!

 

To learn more:

http://truefoodnow.org/2012/10/17/california-newspaper-editorial-boards-spread-false-claims-and-faulty-logic-on-proposition-37/

or

NY Times editorial: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/g-m-o-s-lets-label-em/

or

http://www.carighttoknow.org/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

bbkong November 04, 2012 at 09:02 PM
If it's not a big deal why is Monsanto spending a million dollars a day trying to defeat it? I like to know what I'm eating, so what's the problem? Do I not have that right?
Spirit Of Venice November 04, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I'M TRYING TO UNDERSTAND...PEOPLE WHO ARE VEHEMENT -A-G-A-I-N-S-T- LABELING G.M.O. FOODS...THEY -D-O-N'-T- WANT THE REST OF US TO BE ABLE TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT WE EAT???? - WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????
bbkong November 04, 2012 at 09:23 PM
You know, if you put your all caps post in bold with italics it's a lot louder.
Matthew Sanderson (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I'm not sure if you mean our question to the readers presenting local Brentwood coverage and both sides of the argument. Story here: http://brentwood.patch.com/articles/prop-37-should-genetically-modified-foods-be-denoted-in-labels-bw
Spirit Of Venice November 04, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Thanks, Kong. I tried, but it didn't translate from my Mac TextEdit software to the PATCH posting page. - While we're on the subject of things I am trying to understand, you know - just for the record - there is NO sound in a written statement. No matter how big the letters , how capitalized, how italicized, how bold...NO SOUND...SILENCE...NOTHING! - Yes, we have all entered into an unspoken agreement that capitalized letters are an attempt to represent volume in the imaginarily audible "voice" of the one who is WRITING (NOT speaking), but I really don't understand how people can actually become offended at capital letters because they REPRESENT audible sound. - I just don't get it....but, then, I don't get cheese-flavored pod-corn either, so...there you go.
bbkong November 04, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Ah, an Apple fanboy, I understand now. There is a distinct lack of inflection on the intertubes and not having any syntax available in the Patch software is a clear disadvantage, to be sure. (italic on 'is') (see?) hehe.
bbkong November 04, 2012 at 10:46 PM
And I can't even edit that post to add that I'm not the internet police or a Grammar Nazi either. Just sayin'.
Tim Sole November 04, 2012 at 11:46 PM
"Genetic Engineering" (Crossbreeding) has been a staple of agriculture for thousands of years. If a person wants to see what he or she is buying, they shouldn't have helped destroy "Family Farms" in the seventies and eighties, buying at the lowest price, instead of looking at the future cost of that buying decision Corporate farming is the result of that. THOSE THAT BOUGHT AT THE LOWEST PRICE, HAVE REAPED WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN!!!!! VOTE NO!
nonoise November 05, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Big YES on 37. It is more than just labeling. It will help small farmers. http://www.carighttoknow.org/
RTL November 05, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Maybe you've been eating too much GMO and have been crossbreeding. It's insane to not give people a choice to know what they're eating. I'll never understand the mind of a person who trusts companies like Monsanto and who doesn't understand how important a YES vote on 37 is to one's health and for the health of future generations. Insane. Simply insane.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 03:06 AM
@Tom. Your view that Mother Nature continues to run agriculture is old and antiquated. While farmers do still corn and wheat, they do so with patent owned corn seeds e.g from Monsanto. This company alone owns about 90% of the corn market in the USA alone. What does this mean? It means that the old fashioned farmer has no option to follow their directions, or orders. they cannot save seed for the next harvest e.g and have to use Monsanto approved pesticide. This Pesticide (in theory) is designed to be sprayed on GMO corn and not be affected but at the same time killing bugs, insects and disease. So to say that humans have no hand in our farming is just plain wrong.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Let's be clear about genetics. It's taking the original DNA of plants e.g and altering is a basic fundemental way to change how they are. It's so radical that they are actually a new species. That's the law. That's why a company can patent them. That's why it is big business. However Organic produce is grown without any presticides and without any gene modification whatso ever. They are more susceptible to disease but the produce is fresher and more like mother nature intended.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Big Yes on 37!!! I want to know what's in my food. I would also add that GMO produce such as Corn has to rely on a form of Agent Orange to combat disease in crops since the pesticides that were designed to cannot dea with them anymore. So I want to know which food is GMO and which is organic so I can eat organic and avoid such terrible chemicals. Hey if you don't mind eating chemicals that's your business. I just want to know, in order to make the choice.
RTL November 05, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Tim, You sound insane. That's my opinion. It's 2012; not 1970. Please wake up and grow up. 62 countries throughout Europe ban GMO's. This isn't a ban on GMO, it's simply a LABEL to let you know that it's a GMO. Eat all the GMO's you want and enjoy the increased risk of tumors, diabetes, cancer, etc. . Some of us want nothing to do with this Monsanto fraud. YES on 37!
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Let's look at the core requirement of the Prop 37. It requires that foods that are GMO be clearly labelled for the customer. How is that a bad thing? Are those who disagree equally appalled by the fact that we read labels on our food all the time? How many times have we checked the ingredients or even checked if a product is 'low sodium' or 'no trans fats'? Labelling is power for the consumer and a marketing tool for the company that sells it. The truth behind this Prop 37 is that food companies that used GMO products know that their food is bad for the public and are putting off the inevitable. One day the public will see that GMO food is bad for the body and that Organic is best. Until then, the public should be allowed to decide when to eat GMO or not GMO - just like when we choose diet free soda, low sodium soup, grass fed beef, free range chicken.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 06:35 AM
@Tom Long - Are you the former Mayor of Palos Verdes? And if so, what interests you with the Eagle Rock Patch?
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Genetic engineering is quite different to cross pollination/hyridisation. Genetic engineering takes the form of patented molecular structures. This means that whoever owns the patent owns the right to its use. If a farmer successfully cross pollinates a new variety of apple he/she does not own that variety. A GMO apple on the other hand was created in a lab and therefore its cultivation has to fall into line with the rights of the patent holder. In effect, 'Mother Nature/God' doesn't look over your food....a Corporation does.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Just out of interest - for those voting NO on 37 - I have a question: Labelling doesn't stop you eating food marked GMO, just as much as a label on a pack of cigarettes doesn't stop you from smoking. But would it make you pause to think twice, as much as that label on a pack of cigarettes does warning you of cancer.
EagleRockMom November 05, 2012 at 01:17 PM
@Joe You're not a grammar natzi, eh?
Tim Sole November 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM
RTL, thank you for the comments on my sanity. GMO, as banned in Europe, which pretty much bans everything, was and is bad science. Back to the original question, are you one of those low price folks, without regard to future cost? When you buy low, little guys get put out of business, then you have to deal with whatever the big guys decide. In this case, as with most cases, the low ballers, created a market, that companies reacted to it. REAP WHAT YOU SOWED!
bbkong November 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@ERMa "You're not a grammar natzi, eh?" natzi? No, dear. Not grammar. Weak logic, poorly informed opinions and just plain old dumbassery, yes, but not grammar. There's an ocean of bad grammar I won't even try to contend with on the net. It would be as futile as protesting grains of sand at the beach and besides, I'm guilty of dangling a participle here and there. Have you gotten a plate # from that sedan yet? I've had 3 call backs asking for it.
RTL November 05, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Tim your confusion is evident and your sanity is in question. This is a LABEL (NOT A BAN ON GMO). You are welcome eat all the GMO frankenstein "cheap" corn, wheat, soy, and veggies your heart desires; No one is taking that right away from you. But when your brain gets foggy, start "thinking" about what you're putting into your body, which fuels your brain. I pay a premium for organic and that is expected. And I would pay more for non-gmo, if necessary. Yes on 37. I have a right to know what I'm eating and you have a right to eat all the GMO's you want...enjoy!
bbkong November 05, 2012 at 07:39 PM
GMO's are Soylent Green. People who eat them obviously have crack babies who vote Republican. STOP THE INSANITY!! Label that stuff.
Marcus November 05, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Completely agree, though I would say that the use of GMO crops is increasing the use of pesticides and therefore more of it is being absorbed into the foods and the air. Yes, the air we breathe is not just polluted by gasoline, but by pesticides such as 2-4-D (a form of Agent Orange) which is being used to fight back now occuring super weeds.
Sean McCarthy November 06, 2012 at 12:07 AM
The Woodland Hills Tarzana Chamber of Commerce recommends a NO vote on Prop 37. Find out where we stand on all of the propositions by going to: http://woodlandhills.patch.com/blog_posts/woodland-hills-tarzana-chamber-of-commerce-2012-voter-guide
Corky Jackson November 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Weird how Chambers of Commerce are always ANTI-human rights and ANTI-consumer rights. Aren't they made up of human beings? YES on 37!!
bbkong November 06, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Chambers of Commerce are people too, my friend.
Marcus November 06, 2012 at 05:57 AM
This kind of blog posting is akin to a robo-call. One to ignore.
Tim Sole November 06, 2012 at 07:34 PM
RTL, I also pay the premium for good locally produced vegetables and fruit. I only buy them on Thursday at the RB Farmers market and from suppliers that are local. The problem is still the same, lowballers created the market, companies reacted to demand. This is the same as people driving foreign cars (German/Japanese) and then saying they support gay rights and the middle class. I'm not confused at all about this.
RTL November 06, 2012 at 07:36 PM
VOTE YES on 37!! Know what is in your food. We deserve this most fundamental right!

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