Prop 37… anyone surprised?


So proposition 37 in California was defeated yesterday.

In case you didn’t hear about it, prop 37 was a question put out to the Californian people.  The question was, “do you want genetically modified food and ingredients to be labelled?” Each Californian could vote on this – yes or no.

The majority answer (55%) was NO.  No, we don’t want labels.  No, we don’t need to know.  No, we trust that GMOs are safe for our health.  No, we trust that Monstanto is doing due diligence in testing these technologies.  No, we don’t care if the food that we rely on for our very existence remains real food as nature intended or becomes structurally altered patented and owned by big business.

No.  That’s ok.  Carry on big business.  I’m sure you have our best interest at heart.

Why did Californians say no?  Because 45 million dollars was spent convincing them they should say no.  The good news is that it took 45 million dollars.  People needed to be convinced.  The bad news is that marketing strategies and scare tactics worked, and big business defeated the little 6.7 million dollar grass roots “Yes” campaign.

This was an important proposition.  If California had mandated labelling, food manufacturers would have had to abandon GM ingredients.  No manufacturer would have been able to produced special Californian versions of their foods.  Consumer demand would have forced big agribusiness in the US to use non GM ingredients – just like what happened in Europe.

Did you know that a massive outcry in Europe in 1999 forced GM ingredients and food off the market?  Yup, that’s right.  Europeans said they wouldn’t buy it, so agribusiness had no choice.  Consumers really have that much power.  Remember that next time you go shopping.  You really do and can vote with your dollars.

More good news is that over 3 1/2 million Californians voted yes.  Yes, they would like to
see GM foods labeled.  Yes, they do think more safety testing should be done.  Yes, they do see some conflict of interest when those telling you it’s safe are the same people as those producing it and testing it and profiting from it.  Yes, they would like to be well informed and make educated choices thank you very much.

Oh, politics. Money. Corruption.  It makes me crazy.  I just want a safe food supply for my children’s generation.  I just want corporate money out of my body and out of my children’s lives.  But our world is what it is.

So what are we left with?  Well, we can choose to support the voluntary labeling that is currently in place.  Look for the “verified non-gmo project” labels on foods.  These are products produced by companies who have offered themselves up for voluntary testing and have committed to using non-GM ingredients. We can also buy organic food.

Unfortunately these solutions cost more money at the register.

We can choose not to buy foods that include non-organic canola, sugar, cotton seed, soy, and corn, as well as the derivatives made from those ingredients.  Sadly, however, those ingredients are in just about every packaged food out there.  You have to look closely and know your ingredients.  Even organic foods might have some genetically modified additives.

In essence, in order to avoid genetically modified ingredients, we have to choose to stick with real food and learn how to prepare it.  So nothing really has changed after prop 37.  We carry on trying to find the real food amidst the masses of non-food.  We continue to be “countercultural” so that we can be part of the 20-30% of North Americans that are actually healthy.

Carry on and make the best decisions you can with the information you have.


1 Comment

  • Andy

    Reply Reply November 8, 2012

    Bummer that big business wins again and not the people they affect. Until there is funding for looking at how these things as a whole affect human health over a long period (and not isolated substances on a rat in a lab over a day or two) we will not know what they are doing to us.
    It seems that when we are playing with the health of a population we ought to err on the side of caution and not profit. We can, however, be certain that the corporations who stand to lose from things like prop 37 will never do the studies and will do all they can to suppress them.

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