Imagine walking into your local grocery store to buy a piece of salmon. You get home, cook it, eat it, and then discover that this particular salmon was genetically modified with the genes of an eel – so it’s not a salmon as nature intended salmon to be, it has been genetically modified in a lab to produce a food that nature doesn’t recognize. Now, you might be fine with eating salmon/eel, however, I still think you have the right to know. There should have been a label when you purchased your salmon telling you that it was genetically modified. That way you have an option.
GMO food is already labeled in 50 other countries and its labeling is especially prevalent in Europe, where consumers demand the right to know. Unfortunately genetically modified food has been in our food stream in the US for twenty years now, and many of the foods that you purchase, including cereal and corn chips, will be GMO without you even knowing it. Monsanto has a new corn that is coming out pretty much right now, that has been modified with a pesticide – so without Prop 37 passing, you would be eating this new GMO corn without even knowing it.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding a very recent French study where rats were fed GMO corn and developed tumors. The science of this study might well be flawed, plus the study was conducted and funded by someone who had already made up his mind that GMO’s are a bad thing, however, this doesn’t take away from the issue of our right to know. You will find dozens of scientific and peer reviewed papers on both sides of the “Are GMO’s safe?” issue. One side argues that they have never caused any problems to date (hey, even the FDA endorses them!), and the other side argues that GMO’s are a freak of nature that haven’t been consumed by humans long enough to evaluate the health risks. I’m with the latter, however, again it’s the RIGHT TO KNOW aspect that gets me fired up.
Obviously the hard-hitters in the food & chemical industry (Nestle, Pepsi, Monsanto etc) are funding opposition to this bill to the tune of almost 40 million. Their main argument is that consumers will smell a rat when they see a “made with GMO ingredients” on the packet and will be less likely to buy the food. Oh dear – well, they’ve had plenty of market research with this very issue in Europe, and I’m sure it does give many consumers pause before throwing food into their carts. However, it should give pause. In the same way that I read a label to see if they’ve sneaked high fructose corn syrup (or any other questionable ingredient) in there, I am one of those annoying consumers who likes to know what I’m feeding my family.
Learn more, or support this bill even if you don’t live in CA. California is the 8th largest economy in the world, and if Proposition 37 is passed here, it will affect packaging and ingredient decisions across the Nation.