Due to a barrage of No on Prop. 37 ads in recent weeks, polls reported that the gap between bill supporters and naysayers has dwindled to 8%. Let’s address the naysayers’ allegations in detail.
An influential faction firmly in the pockets of the No on Prop. 37 campaign is the newspaper media, as noted by this chart published by Consumer Watchdog.
ALLEGATION: Prop. 37 will create lots of paperwork.
RESPONSE: Under Prop. 37, the only question that food suppliers such as wholesalers would be required to answer in writing is, Do you use GMOs in your products, yes or no? Food retailers can also obtain independent certification that products sold in their stores do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.
ALLEGATION: Prop. 37 will raise the cost of the average family grocery bill by $600/year.
RESPONSE: Monsanto, Dupont, and mega-food corporations like PepsiCo and Kraft Foods are spending close to a million dollars combined in nonstop advertising per day to try to confuse and convince California voters that adding a small amount of ink to existing packaging labels will significantly raise the cost of the average grocery bill. Do they offer objective proof from an independent third party source, or did they pull the number out of thin air?
ALLEGATION: Prop. 37 is full of special-interest exemptions and is inherently misleading.
RESPONSE: The exemptions are not misleading and are on par with food labeling laws already in place in the European Union and worldwide. It covers food sold in supermarkets, where consumers currently obtain the bulk of their genetically engineered products. Items like milk, meats, and eggs would have to be labeled if they originated from genetically engineered animals. Because it is difficult to track what animals eat, Prop. 37 does not require labeling for food products derived from animals that eat genetically engineered feed. On the other hand, GMO pet food would have to be labeled as such because of how the Sherman Act previously defined pet food as food.
ALLEGATION: Prop. 37 conflicts with science.
RESPONSE: Unintended consequences (e.g., superweeds) invariably emerge when scientists and corporations attempt to supplant nature’s role in developing genetically engineered products. Why do these firms insist on taking such risks with the lives and health of their fellow humans?
Moreover, the expert employed in many of the No on Prop. 37 television ads is Henry I. Miller, a Hoover Institution researcher notorious for claiming that DDT should be reintroduced as a safe way to control mosquitoes and that exposure to radiation after a nuclear meltdown can actually have a health benefit. Given what we now know about the health defects caused by DDT and other toxins developed by the likes of Monsanto and Dupont, how can anyone take his views at face value?
POSTSCRIPT: Social change activist and author Frances Moore Lappé recently returned from India where she said that the people in that country are viewing the Prop. 37 vote on Nov. 6 not as a narrow referendum affecting just California, but one that has repercussions around the world.