California to vote on GMO labeling

In one of the most important votes of 2012, Californians will vote on whether to force food producers to label GMO products. The industry keeps telling us that it’s not necessary but shouldn’t consumers know what they are purchasing? If it’s not a problem, as the industry keeps telling us, then let them sell the idea and win over customers. Hiding information is not what we should expect in America.

Because there’s no mandatory labeling of GM foods, there’s a good chance many of us consume them without even knowing. According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 75 to 80 percent of conventional processed foods currently contain GM ingredients. Among the foods most likely to contain GM ingredients include ready-to-eat cereals, snack chips, tofu and other soy-derived foods, soups, and any processed foods made with corn, soybeans, canola and cottonseed oils.

Those who support the “Yes to Prop 37” campaign believe that consumers should not be left in the dark about what’s in their food. According to one such advocate, Michele Simon, JD, MPH, author of “Appetite for Profit,” “Prop 37 is an important step toward bringing America in line with 61 other nations that already require some form of GM labeling.” She also questions what she refers to as “The more than $40 million spent by leading pesticide and junk food companies to keep Californians in the dark about what they’re eating.”

Although it doesn’t support mandatory labeling, the American Medical Association recently updated their position on GE foods and called for mandatory safety testing before they hit the market.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • After all, are we all not what we eat?

    BTW, stay away from fish as I contain vast quantities of mercury.

  •  ” and it is working.”

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the American populace.

    Otherwise, why else would they be peddling this bullshit?

  •  As an average consumer, why do you think you have the right to know what ya ingest?

    Holy Pink Slime, Batman, think of the poor kabillionaires out there that could lose a few bucks in their portfolios if we were given the choice to determine what is in our foods!

  • Skycat

    It seems to me most of the anti-37 proponents are using this argument as a smokescreen for business as usual (and it’s usually their business) rather than coming up with some reasonable solutions.  I haven’t seen any ads arguing for “reasonable thresholds.”

  •  Kinda makes one wonder exactly what’s in their bleach… yes?

  • perljammer

    Except the proposed law is almost all bathwater and precious little baby.  The place to start is with reasonable thresholds for ALL food products regardless of their point of sale, and with no exemptions.

  • citizen_spot

    You really have to wonder when  Clorox is a sponsor of the “No on 37” campaign.  Clorox? Really?

  • citizen_spot

     “This is a poorly written law that does not provide anywhere near the level of consumer protection it purports to provide.”

    So the answer is to provide absolutely no consumer protections?  I call bullshit! 

    Look at the sponsors of the No on 37 campaign.  They know they are feeding us crap we don’t want, and if, legislation permitting, we could know what garbage we are being sold as “food product” we wouldn’t buy their engineered  crap.  They can’t profit off of what they can’t patent, so they engineer the DNA to enable them to patent the “food product” and the associated pesticides that target the non-GMO natural crops but not the GMOs. They also know that as goes California, so goes the nation in most cases.  Keeping consumers in the dark is keeping big agriculture/food processors very much in the black.

  • Skycat

    This seems to me to be like a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” response.  We need to start somewhere with regulating GMOs.

  • citizen_spot

     Yes, the ad campaign for “No on 37” has been a barrage of bullshit adds about how it will raise the cost of food for poor people, has exemptions, blah blah blah.  The big agra and processed crap food industries are spending tons of money on this NOT because it will cost too much to label their food and thus raise prices. They are spending tons of money because they know that people don’t want to eat their frankenfood. If Monsanto can’t sue independent farmers for reusing the seeds from their crops that may have been cross contaminated with patented GMO seeds then Monsanto will lose a lucrative revenue stream.  To which I say “boo fucking hoo!”

    YES on 37!

  • perljammer

    Restaurant menus commonly list the number of calories in dishes (though this is not required by law), so no; the exemption does not make “perfect sense”.  To date, there are no genetically modified cows in the food chain, but there is plenty of GMO cattle feed.  Does that exemption make “perfect sense”, or even not-so-perfect sense?  How about the exemption for GMO food processing chemicals and enzymes?  How about the GMO-containing bag of potato chips that is exempt because it’s sold over the counter at a sandwich shop?  Or any food “prepared for immediate consumption”?

    This is a poorly written law that does not provide anywhere near the level of consumer protection it purports to provide.  That is where the true deciption lies.

  • emjayay

    Complaints about possible shortcomings of the proposed law are no reason to not vote for it. Restaurant food doesn’t come with ingredient or nutrition labels for anything else either, so that exception makes perfect sense. I don’t know why the exemption for organic foods, which as far as I know aren’t GMO in the first place.

    Apparently food processing and chemical companies are spending over $44M to defeat the measure using multiply deceptive advertising, and it is working. They know that if this initiative is successful initiatives or laws are much more likely to be passed in other states or nationally. Also of course California is a really big state and a lot of food crops are grown there. European countries, Japan, China, and India already have similar labeling laws.

    If you are a California voter, please vote yes on Prop 37.

  • perljammer

    I live in California, and I’ve actually read the proposed law.  It contains some rather odd exemptions, such as meat or milk from an animal that itself was not genetically engineered, but was fed genetically engineered food; food served in restaurants that, if offered for sale in a store, would require a label; and alcoholic beverages.  Oh, yeah — and anything labelled “organic”.  And any processed food whose only genetically engineered content is “processing aids or enzymes”.

    So, if an item is labelled “genetically engineered”, it probably is; if not, it may or may not be.  Not very confidence-inspiring.

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