In two days, California voters will go to the polls to determine whether they want to implement a consumer protection law to require the labeling of genetically engineered food sold in retail stores. Below is my letter to my fellow voters.


If you’ve been relying solely on TV ads and major metropolitan newspapers to advise you how to vote on Proposition 37, the California GMO labeling initiative, I can almost bet that you’ve either sent in your absentee ballot and voted NO on the initiative or are planning to vote that way on Election Day. The relentless advertising campaign waged by the likes of Monsanto has been extremely effective in influencing the minds of California voters who, at one time supported the proposition by better than 2 to 1.

What happened can be found in the words of the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, who is quoted as saying, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.”

The slick TV advertisements are filled with lies and misrepresentations – most notably, the claim that Californians would have to pay $400 more for their groceries if the bill is passed. There are 61 nations around the world that require labeling of genetically engineered foods, including Russia, China, and Japan, and none of their citizens pay any more for their groceries as a result.

Another egregious lie is that farmers will be put out of business if GMO foods are labeled. The United Farm Workers and organic farming community openly support Prop. 37. The Sierra Club, The Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy NOW, and the California Nurses Association also support this bill. They know that GMOs require greater use of pesticides and herbicides, which increases the cost of production and poses a major health risk to workers and consumers. It is corporate giants like Monsanto, PepsiCo, and ConAgra that have contributed millions to defeat the proposition.

Finally, the opposition is trying make the voting public believe that the GMO labeling exemptions are confusing and contradictory. There are valid reasons why these exemptions are included in the bill:

1. Restaurants are not required to list ingredients on their menus, and asking them to comply with this labeling law would require them to track every single ingredient that they include in their meals. Since no other laws have such a requirement, it didn’t make sense for this bill to include such a provision.

2. Article 2, Section 8(D) of the California Constitution stipulates that ballot initiatives cannot be about multiple subjects. In the case of Prop. 37, any first generation plant or animal that had its DNA genetically engineered would have to be labeled, whereas 2nd generation GMO – the byproducts (meat, milk, eggs) of an animal that ate genetically engineered feed – would not. This exemption is common all around the world.

3. Alcohol labeling is regulated under a special set of federal and state laws, so we can’t change it under Prop. 37.

4. Pet food containing genetically engineered corn or soy would have to be labeled under Prop. 37 because the standard definition of food under the Sherman Act includes pet food.

5. Organic food is automatically exempt by federal definition because it is not allowed by law to contain GMOs.

Almost 1 million Californians signed petitions to put Prop. 37 on the November ballot. These are common people like you and me, not corporate interests. On November 6th, vote YES on PROP. 37. We have the right to know what’s in our food!


Facebook: Label GMOs Hollywood, California Right To Know

My Prop. 37 appeal letter to California voters
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