As it gets closer and closer to November 6, there has been an increased amount of publicity about Prop. 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. If Prop. 37 passes, California will be the first state in the United States to require plant or animal products to be labeled if they are genetically modified. This law would also make it illegal for food companies to label a product as “natural” if it contains any type of genetically modified ingredient. It is not a ban against genetically altered foods.
Supporters of Prop. 37 believe that it’s a way of allowing the consumer to know more about the food they eat, especially since there’s a lot of controversy regarding whether food that is genetically altered is safe for human and animal consumption. Large corporations are not above deceiving customers about what they’re putting into our food, especially if they can make more money doing so. Prop. 37 is simply a way to keep large corporations honest about what they’re putting in our food.
According to Natural News, Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen led the first study to determine the long-term effects of eating Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. The report concluded that “the animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.” (Note: the methods used by this study have recently been questioned.) These findings have become widespread, and there are pictures everywhere of these horrifically deformed rats with grotesque-looking tumors. The GM corn that was used for this study is the same corn grown widespread across America. It’s in breakfast cereals, corn tortillas, corn chips, and other corn-based foods.
Consumers who believe in the harmful effects of GMOs want to make sure companies are not sneaking them into their foods. Some concerned mothers don’t want these products anywhere near their kids.
Those who oppose Prop. 37 argue that there’s really nothing wrong with genetically modified foods, and that the passing of the bill will have financial ramifications that will affect both consumers and producers. According to No on 37: Stop the Deceptive Food-Labeling Scheme, Prop. 37 would cost families an extra $400 per year in groceries. The Sacramento Bee states that same fact, and also adds that it would increase costs for farmers and food companies. In a television ad opposing Prop. 37, an old farmer is shown pleading with the American people to vote No on 37 because the increase in the costs would create financial challenges for him and other small farmers.
In John McKiernan’s Natural News article “No on Prop. 37 Ads Aim to Scare Voters,” he states that these ads are funded by Monsanto, DuPont, and other large corporations who are out to deceive and manipulate voters. They try to appeal to the viewers by having small farmers, authoritative speakers, and university professors give out misinformation. In fact, one of the ads was pulled off the air when a so-called Stanford University professor’s credentials were found to be false. McKiernan states that the cost of groceries for those that don’t consume GMOs will not be affected, and for GE consumers, the $400 increase in groceries is a gross exaggeration. The bottom line is that large corporations who want to make money off GE products are using images of small farmers and “professors” to manipulate the general public into voting against the bill.
A way to become more informed about a proposition is to look into the money backing each side. Who financially supports Prop. 37? Who financially supports the opposing side? In Zack Behrens’s article “Who’s Funding Prop. 37: Labeling for Genetically Engineered Foods?,” supporters of Prop. 37 claim that Pamm Larry, a grandmother from Chico, started it as a grassroots effort. As it gained steam, it received attention from small donors, and eventually gained support from Dr. Joseph Mercola, the Organic Consumer’s Fund, Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soaps, Nature’s Path Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Organic Valley, and Natural News, among others. The biggest contributors from the opposing side are Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Syngenta, Pepsico, Nestle, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, and countless others.