YES YES YES on 37!
If its true that we are what we eat, then there are few things more basic than our right to know what's in our food.
Prop 37, the California Right to Know ballot initiative, is designed to give consumers the information they need to decide whether or not to purchase genetically engineered foods, by requiring labeling of genetically engineered food sold in grocery stores and prohibiting such food from being labeled “natural.” It gives companies 18 months to change their labels and requires them to add the words “partially produced with genetic engineering” to their packaging.
The Green Party has always supported such labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and enthusiastically endorses Prop 37.
The national significance of California passing Prop 37 can not be overstated. Nineteen states have tried to pass mandatory labeling legislation, but have failed due to threats of lawsuits, pressure tactics by the biotech lobby, and the revolving door between government and industry. A breakthrough in the nation's most populous state would change all that - on policy and on people power.
Giant agribusinesses like Monsanto and the others of the “Big 6” pesticide makers (BASF, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta) are spending tens of millions of dollars
trying to defeat Prop 37. Apparently they fear that if the public knew just how much of the non-organic food on grocery store shelves already has genetically-engineered ingredients, they would lose marketshare. What is less known is that several major food corporations that sell organic food products have joined the Big 6 in contributing millions of dollars against Prop 37 -- a revelation to those who have been buying their products. These companies, also sometimes known as 'Big Organic', include Kellogg, which owns Morningstar Farms; General Mills, which owns the Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen; Dean Foods, which owns Horizon Organic; Smucker, which owns Santa Cruz Organic and R.W. Knudsen; and Coca-Cola, which owns Odwalla juices.
On the 'yes' side - to their credit - is Whole Foods, Hain Celestial, United Natural Foods, Chipotle and many others
Proposition 37 is not a ban on GMOs, it’s a simple label. Prop 37 was mean to ensure labeling and to do so with minimal costs and regulatory oversight. Labeling GMOs will not increase food costs, as GMOs have been labeled throughout Europe for more than a decade without consequence. Food labels already show nutrition, allergy and other information consumers want to know. Prop 37 would simply add information telling us if food is produced using genetic engineering — the process of modifying food in a laboratory by adding DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria or viruses.
Of course as Greens we go beyond the right to know, to sharing deep concerns about the health and safety of genetically engineered food.
Incredibly, the US government does not require health and safety studies for genetically engineered foods, and instead leaves it up to the companies to vouch for safety. The use of genetically engineered foods without mandatory publicly transparent safety testing amounts to a massive science experiment on the health of California's families and children in the name of corporate profits. This is unacceptable.
Consumers, farmers and California businesses are also deeply concerned about the environmental impacts of genetically engineered foods, including unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops and loss of seed purity for our most important food crops, because GMOs cross-pollinate and spread into the environment; an overall increase in pesticide use, because rather than reducing the need for hazardous pesticides, herbicide-resistant seeds have driven a massive increase in herbicide use; and the emergence of superweeds and superbugs that are now resistant to the chemicals used with GMO crops.
By contrast, passage of Prop. 37 will boost sales for small manufacturers and producers and increase crop diversity. It will steer agriculture away from the corporations and back into the hands of local communities.
With Prop 37, we are in the food fight of our lives - literally.
This November, the people of California have a chance to change history. Vote yes on Prop 37.
More on Proposition 37 from the California Official Voter Information Guide: