Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GMO Labeling and California's Proposition 37

Just Label It Campaign

  It's been a while since we talked about GMOs. And unfortunately, not much has changed in the past few months in regard to the prevalence, production, crops, or labeling of genetically modified foods in the US.

  But that could be changing, come November.

Proposition 37
  This election season, Californians will be voting on a mandatory labeling referendum of genetically engineered foods: Proposition 37. If passed, it would mean that genetically engineered foods, and food products, must be labeled in California.

  My question has always been this: why are the US (and Canada) the ONLY (wealthy) countries with ZERO regulations and labeling laws regarding GMOs?

  Since GMOs were never tested prior to entering the food supply, North Americans have essentially been the guinea pigs in an enormous experiment running 16 years strong. And unfortunately, we've seen a huge decline, across the board, in our health since the introduction of GMOs: chronic disease rates have nearly doubled. And food allergies, Autism, Diabetes, asthma, obesity, Parkinson's, cancer and infertility rates have exploded.

  But now that we are becoming more and more aware of GMOs, and what they are potentially doing to our health, it still remains nearly impossible to identify them, and thus, avoid them if you're in North America.

  A simple label would rectify that. Having a label, like the one found all over the world (50 other countries either require labels for GM foods, or ban them all together), would allow the consumer to make educated choices at the grocery store. No more guessing. No more blind faith in the food system.

  Imagine that. We'd know exactly what was in the food we were buying, and feeding to our kids. 

Why is California so important?
  It is believed that once one state passes a GMO labeling law, a precedent will have been set, and more states will be able to follow suit.

  And even though 90% of Americans believe GMOs should be labeled, politicians have repeatedly failed to serve their constituents (just two months ago, a GMO labeling amendment was voted down in the Senate). So we might as well do it ourselves.

  But it won't be easy.

  In the coming months, millions of dollars will be spent by 'big pesticide' and 'big processed food' companies to fight food labeling in California. In a report released this week, it was revealed that nearly $10 million has been contributed by companies such as Dupont Pioneer, Bayer Cropscience and BASF Plant Science (pesticide companies), and Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle USA, General Mills and ConAgra, among others, to oppose Proposition 37.

  And just yesterday (August 15th), Monsanto contributed $4.2 Million to help defeat the labeling referendum.

  They obviously don't want their products 'outed' as being potentially unsafe. But then again, how long did the tobacco industry fight warning labels on cigarettes?

  Threats of lawsuits have also dissuaded states from pursuing GMO labeling bills. On two occasions  in 2012, Monsanto, the nations largest producer of GM seeds and the innovator of 'Round Up Ready" seeds, has threatened states (Vermont and Connecticut) with lawsuits if they dared to pass a labeling law.

  Needless to say, this election season will be very interesting (in more ways than one). And even though I don't live in California, I will be paying close attention to the Proposition 37 results.

  Please check out the infographic below (sorry, if it's difficult to read -- you can click on it to see it full size). It is a fabulous illustration of the pressing issues regarding GMOs (arguably the biggest issue facing our bodies and our planet)! 

  And one last thought, if GMOs are so safe, why not proudly display it on the front of packages?

GMOs in a nutshell.




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