Thursday, November 15, 2012

Major Props for Prop 37

There’s no retreating when it comes to the truth, a belief that also applies to the issue of GMOs and the fact that we, as consumers, vote every day –and every meal—on  the food we eat. The truth is that we can choose foods without GMOs, whether Prop 37 passed or not.

As you know, Californians voted on GMO labeling with Proposition 37, and it was a close vote—46% for Proposition 37 and 54% against it. That fact alone—a full 46% voting for it—indicates that there is increasing consumer awareness of and rallying against agricultural and food production that uses GMOs.
That’s a good sign that there’s been progress.

If Prop 37 had passed, then food and beverage manufacturers would have to notify consumers about the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the product label.

But it didn't pass.

Why? The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) believes that the following are among the reasons:

  • Some consumers say that they don’t understand it, so they don’t care.
  • Some consumers are afraid that labeling GMOs would increase the cost of food.
  • Some consumers believe GMOs are necessary to feed the world population.

In response to those reasons, I’d say:

  • What consumers don’t understand about GMOs can hurt them—and everyone should care about that. The truth is that GMOs have infiltrated our foods and beverages and are health hazards. Among those are that the body rejects GMOs and their foreign DNA as poisons, adversely affecting the immune system, digestive system and much more.
  • Labeling GMOs would not increase the cost of food. Food manufacturers change their labels constantly without price increases. 
  • GMOs aren't necessary to feed the world population. University of Michigan researchers say that organic farming can yield up to three times as much food on farms in developing countries. The same is true for developed countries.  Organic farming produces just as much—and often times more—than conventional farming. GMOs are also less nutritious and more vulnerable to climate change, pests and disease. Likewise, GM seeds don’t regenerate from year-to-year. In short, GM foods are a perfect storm for food insecurity.

Beyond all the reasons why Prop 37 wasn't passed, however, is the fact that each and every day we vote on what foods we select and eat—and that’s powerful.

Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and a leader in the fight against GMOs, says to never underrate the power of consumers as change agents. Consumer choices move the market. Major food companies have already removed GMOs in their European brands, so if they see a loss in their market share due to a growing anti-GMO sentiment in the U.S., they’ll get rid of GM ingredients quickly. Just 5 percent of consumers rejecting GM brands can cause the world of GMOs to come crashing down, says Smith.  Here’s more from Smith:

Similarly, the Non-GMO Project helps preserve a non-GMO food supply and to give consumers an informed choice. They’re North America’s only third-party verification program for non-GMO.

So, major props to Prop 37 for raising awareness of GMOs—and major props to you for voting against GMOs every day with your food dollars.