Thursday, September 20, 2012

Speaking out of both sides of the mouth

The most important opportunity to affect the control the Corporate Agribusiness has over our foods is Proposition 37 on the California ballot in November. Prop. 37 is the Right to Know (what's in our food), mandating GMO labelling.

All Proposition 37 does is require clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified. We already have food labels showing nutrition, allergy information and other facts consumers want to know. This measure simply adds information telling us if food is produced using genetic engineering, which is when food is modified in a laboratory by adding DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria or viruses.    

I think the California vote on Prop. 37 is perhaps even more important that the Presidential vote. After all, no matter who is elected President, he will still have 535 Voting Members of Congress to deal with anything he wants to change or accomplish. However, if Prop. 37 passes, it will ultimately inform every one of us in the U.S. who purchases food because it will be too costly and cumbersome for corporations to have different food labels for foods sold in different states.

Most of us imagine that anything "organic" (by Law non-GMO) would automatically be on the side to defeat the proposition, yet many large corporations that produce or market organic foods have helped put over $26 MILLION into the war chest to defeat the initiative. How can these corporations market some foods as good for us, yet refuse to label what's in the other foods they market?

        Kellogg’s (Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms);
        General Mills (Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar);
        Dean Foods (Horizon, Silk, White Wave);
        Smucker’s (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic);
        Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla);
        Safeway (‘O’ Organics);
        Kraft (Boca Burgers and Back to Nature);
        Con-Agra (Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife); and
        PepsiCo (Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, Tropicana Organic).

On the other hand, there are many smaller organic leaders supporting the Proposition. By enlarging the poster above, you can see the companies donating to the cause. Please support them and their products when possible!  
The current Administration has deregulated more genetically modified foods than ever. From plums to alfalfa and even sugar beets. But it's not just that so many crops are modified (93% of all soy, 86% of corn, and 93% of canola seeds are now genetically modified) it's that there's currently no labeling system in place so that we know what we're buying. 

We are one of the few industrialized nations that doesn't require labeling of GMO foods. In the past year alone 19 U.S. states have attempted to pass GMO labeling laws, but each time Monsanto and biotech lobbyists have threatened to sue. Only Alaska, with its huge wild salmon industry, has passed a biotech seafood labeling law.

Most of us would like to believe that our foods come from nature, but that's far from the case. In 40 countries, including Australia, Japan and all European Union nations, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs because they are not considered proven safe.

Update: Giant pesticide and big food companies have so far donated more than $37 million to defeat Yes on 37 to label GMOs in California. Earlier this spring, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), of which Monsanto is a leading partner, declared that defeating Prop 37 was its single highest priority for 2012.

Monsanto just funneled another $2.9 million dollars to defeat California’s Prop 37 to label genetically engineered foods. This comes on top of their $4.2 million dollar pledge only weeks ago and brings Monsanto’s combined total to more than $7.1 million dollarsThat’s a huge pile of cash and it’s dedicated to only one thing – denying us the Right to Know what’s in our food.

My Question: Did Monsanto just kick in more $$ because they are concerned the People might actually WIN??



  1. As of August 15, polls showed prop 37 winning by 3 to 1 margin:

    So, yes, Monsanto is worried. Very worried.

    1. Thats great news! I would sure like to see similar legislation go here in WA.

    2. Thanks for the update on the polls!!

  2. I have grown so disillusioned by politics in our country - to the point where I didn't want to cast a vote for anyone - but I'm chomping at the bit to go out and vote for Prop 37.

    1. Chad, those are my sentiments exactly... except since I don't live in California, I cannot vote for Prop. 37 to pass.

  3. There is a very important principle here. In Europe this principle is often worked into the law. It is known as The Precautionary Principle. Wikipedia defines it as follows "The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action" To me, this is a basic human right. To big business it is another matter entirely. Until this is recognized as a basic human ritht we will be having this "disagreement" over and over. Thanks for keeping us informed!


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