By Loretta Redd
This November election ballot will offer over a dozen initiatives, most designed to baffle voters and test our capacity to decipher truth from falsehood and jewels from junk. It would help–slightly- -if every voter had a dual degree in political science and law; but even then, there would be plenty of room for interpretation.
One such initiative, planted in the California field of dreams, is Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food. According to Ballotpedia.org, and other interpretive websites, Prop 37 will:
“require labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways; prohibit labeling or advertising such food as ‘natural;’ exempt from this requirement foods that are ‘certified’ organic – unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material, made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processes with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages.”
James Wheaton, who filed the ballot language, entitled it, “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.”
I call it “The Good Disclosure, then Sell Out or Accommodate Everyone Act.”
What’s driving this sudden interest in the RNA and DNA of our foodstuffs is the fear felt by large food and beverage corporations who have profited mightily by having their labels branded as “natural” or organic, when in fact, they are genetically modified or use modified ingredients.
We consumers want to do “the right thing.” When Santa Barbarans can’t get to the numerous locally grown and organically harvested Farmer’s Markets around town, I imagine we do our best to buy brands such as Kashi, Morningstar brands, or Silk soy products, Odwalla, Naked Juice or the like.
It hurts me to have to tell you that all of the above are produced by corporations including Kellogg’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Con-Agra…all of whom are pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars to see Proposition 37 defeated.
The organic-bean-sprout-huggers behind the Prop 37 movement have raised $3 million to spread the message that consumers have a right to have genetically modified foods clearly labeled as such. Unfortunately, the biotech, chemical, and mega-food corporations have already raised ten times that much to defeat the measure. The contribution scoreboard looks like the USC-Hawaii football final last Saturday.
Here are three basics that the bean-huggers want you to consider: