Saturday, October 20, 2012

Prop 37: NO!

Prop 37 is another misleading initiative, written to intentionally confuse the voters. Prop 37 is billed as “the right to know”, but with all the exemptions written into the proposition, the consumer will still have no idea if the food they are purchasing is free of genetically engineered foods or not. Oddly, 2/3rds of the food consumed in California will be exempt under Prop 37. It requires labels for soy and tofu products, but milk, cheese and other dairy products are exempt. Fruit juice would require a label but alcohol that contains genetically engineered material would not. Why does pet food containing GE meat require a label but any meat for human consumption is exempt? Food sold in grocery stores requires GE labels but the same food sold in restaurants is exempt. The innumerable and complicated exceptions to the law severely undermine its credibility.

If this were truly a health or medical issue, Prop 37 would have been written by doctors or scientists. But Prop 37 was written by infamous trial lawyer James Wheaton, who stands to make massive amounts of money from lawsuits over theoretically “mislabeled” food. According to the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst Office, “in order to bring such an action (lawsuit) forward, the consumer would not be required to demonstrate any specific damage from the alleged violation.” This means that farmers, grocers, and food companies can be sued without any proof of harm to the “victims”! Yet that lack of provable damages would do nothing to slow the money flowing into the pockets of trial lawyers, away from already strained businesses and farmers.

On the other hand, foods with demonstrably fewer safety regulations from foreign counties would have no burden of proof that they are GE free; they simply have to slap a label on their products that announce as such. Why would we make ourselves additionally susceptible to inferior food, when reputable, leading health organizations across the nation have said that the use of this biotechnology is perfectly safe? Only food grown and sold in California would be held to this standard of labeling, which will drive up our food costs and be harmful for our hard working farmers and grocers. We already have many consumer safeguards in place. All “certified organic” food must already be produced without genetic altering. There are also some companies already labeling- without government mandates- that their food is GE free. Prop 37 is entirely unnecessary in the current marketplace.

Prop 37 is deceptive, but don’t take our word for it. The American Medical Association, the US Food and Drug Administration, and even the World Health Organization have all come to the conclusion that at this point in time, there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered food. Other reliable news sources and organizations say so as well: the San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, The Woodland Democrat, the San Jose Mercury News, as well as the American Council of Science and Health, and the California Chamber of Commerce all agree: Vote NO on Prop 37!

All of our posts on the Propositions