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Prop 37 (Label GMOs): Addressing $44 Million in Lies, #YesOnProp37

Prop. 37 is a well-written proposition, by a diligent group of food industry, food policy, farm, science and health experts, which is being distorted by a $44 million dollar campaign of lies.

 

I'm dismayed to see that there's any question whatsoever about voting YES on Proposition 37 (label GMOs).

There is a massive disinformation campaign going on from every outlet — TV, radio, mass mailings — being funded by the same folks who told us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange are safe (they're not), and none of what they're saying is true.  Stanford University even forced them to take one commercial off the air because they represented the spokesperson as a Stanford professor, which he wasn't.  That should tell you all you need to know about the opposition's integrity.

I've been working on Prop. 37 almost since its inception and would like to set the record straight:

Proposition 37 is a well-written, well-researched proposition, put together by a diligent group of food industry, food policy, farm, science and health experts, several of whom I know and trust implicitly.

Proposition 37 specifically only addresses genetically-engineered crops sold whole or as ingredients in other food items, to make it as easy as possible for stores and companies to comply. These crops include: corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini, and crookneck squash.  California law requires that ballot measures only address one state code at a time.  Items not included in Proposition 37 – alcohol and meat – are covered by different state or federal codes and therefore do not apply.

There is a strong precedent to Proposition 37 in the U.S.:  The 2004 Food Allergen Labeling Act protects consumers by requiring labeling of possible allergens like peanuts, soy and dairy.  When Congress approved it, the same food companies objected and made the same claims, yet, when the Act went into force, stores and companies complied, prices remained stable, there was no excessive or abusive litigation, and consumers had more information with which to protect themselves (we have all seen the labels, “This product made on equipment which may have once touched peanuts”).

Proposition 37 offers no economic incentives for lawyers to sue.  The only new enforcement provision added by Prop. 37 allows a consumer to sue only for an order to force required labeling to take place – not to recover any money at all.  Consumers cannot file a class action without first giving notice, and if the defendant fixes the labels, then no class action is permitted.  Any penalties from a violation go only to the state, not the plaintiff or lawyer.

Proposition 37 does not include a “bounty hunter” provision like Proposition 65, which lets the plaintiff keep one-quarter of any civil penalty on top of an award of attorney’s fees.  The same chemical companies making claims about lawsuits are themselves suing farmers across the country for saving their own seeds.

Food prices remained stable when the European Union required the labeling of GMOs ten years ago.  Sixty-one countries across the globe either label GMOs or ban them completely, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Peru, India, China and Russia.  Why on Earth do people in Russia and China have more rights to know what’s in their food than we do?  That’s not the country I grew up in.

Creates paperwork?  Anyone who believes farmers who use Monsanto seeds don't already keep reams of paperwork to address the patent protection situation, aren't paying attention.

The grassroots effort that became Proposition 37 was started by a fearless, feisty grandmother from Chico, Pamm Larry, who couldn’t believe that genetically-engineered foods weren’t already being labeled.  She called together some friend to help, those friends became a people’s movement which gathered nearly a million signatures to get her GMO labeling initiative on the ballot this Tuesday.

If you have other questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them.  This is one of the most important issues of our time and California has the opportunity to lead the way towards greater transparency and a more level playing field (organic farmers are not federally subsidized; GMO farmers are).

To summarize: VOTE YES ON PROP 37!

To learn more:

http://truefoodnow.org/2012/10/17/california-newspaper-editorial-boards-spread-false-claims-and-faulty-logic-on-proposition-37/

or

NY Times editorial: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/g-m-o-s-lets-label-em/

or

http://www.carighttoknow.org/

For more progressive ballot endorsements for Tuesday, hit this page:

http://courage.3cdn.net/1134cd8e81036e735e_jkm6b5llc.pdf

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

hutch November 04, 2012 at 05:46 PM
NO ON 37 This badly written law will hurt California farmers, drive up food prices and actually cause more chemicals to be used in the production of our food. Genetically-engineered crops fight off disease naturally so there's less need for pesticides and other chemicals known to be dangerous to man. This is NOT an ingredient in food. They are not adding anything. They simply turn on and off genes that are already in the seeds. Their claim that other countries have implemented GM labeling with no ill effects is ridiculous and unproven. California produces more crops than all those countries they listed combined. Get real. By labeling you are going to scare consumers which will force farmers to switch back to the old methods of spraying crops with dangerous chemicals. Prices will go up and we will be at greater risk. Don't believe all the hippie hype. Vote No on Prop 37.
Tejindar Sandhu MD November 04, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Relevant comments to this Proposition are found here: http://academicsreview.org/2012/10/letter-to-dr-oz-show-producers-by-bruce-chassy-phd/
hutch November 05, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Ha Tejindar, so basically Mr. Jeffrey Smith, the main proponent of Prop 37 is a fruad and a quack. He has no training in biotechnology and all of his theories are debunked by accepted science. But he is a ballroom dance instructor.
Tejindar Sandhu MD November 05, 2012 at 01:49 AM
It's hard to leave our prejudices and incitements outside the voting booth. Specially, when there are so many paid interests involved. Surviving in "democracy" has become a full time job.
Cindy Abbott November 05, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Thrilled to be voting YES on Proposition 37 tomorrow. We should know what is in our food so that we can make our own personal decisions. "Actually cause more chemicals to be used in the production of our food"... If that were the case wouldn't Monsanto, the largest chemical producer around be supporting Proposition 37 instead of pouring millions into the campaign against it? There are numerous studies that show that we can have a healthy and vital food system without the use of pesticides.
hutch November 05, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Sorry you are a misinformed Cindy. Genetic engineering does not "add" anything to your food. It is not an ingredient like peanuts that people can be allergic to. This ill written prop was written by a dance teacher with no knowledge of biotechnology. That's why every major California newspaper studied 37 and recommends a no vote along with the American Medical Association, 99% of scientists. BTW, Monsanto is against prop 37 because they are moving away from pesticides and towards genetic engineering to reduce the need for pesticides and fungicides. Get it? So you can vote your emotions or you can vote along accepted scientific beliefs and vote no on 37.
Cindy Abbott November 05, 2012 at 06:43 PM
“Any statement suggesting extensive safety testing of all genetically modified crops is absolutely false,” said David Schubert, professor and Laboratory Head Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute. “A majority of the new GM crops coming through the agriculture biotech pipeline have had zero testing done on them,” Schubert said. There's an explanation for the shortage of independent research on genetically engineered foods, of course. As the editors of Scientific American wrote, "(A)gritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers...only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of peer-reviewed journal."
hutch November 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Still no evidence of any harm ever caused by genetic engineering. 99% Of Scientists believe it's perfectly safe. Most Ca newspapers say to vote no because it's a ridiculous proposition.
The Genetic Gourmet November 05, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I had the most utterly delicious GMO labeled zucchini the other day that I bought at a farmer's market.. Only problem was, after I peeled off the GMO label there was another label underneath it which said that it was a California cucumber. Madness!
Corky Jackson November 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM
"Hutch" is quoting almost word for word the press releases of the big chemical companies. You want to talk about GMOS specifically: B-t corn has the gene of a pesticide inserted into it artificially in a laboratory. An insect eats the corn and the insects' stomach dissolves until it dies from its own stomach bacteria. Then they sell this stuff as food. The FDA doesn't regulated it as food, but the EPA regulates it as a pesticide. I don't want to eat this stuff and it should be MY choice what I decide to eat and what I decide to feed my daughter. NOT the choice of some fatcat corporate CEO who controls any studies that come out about the stuff. YES on 37!
hutch November 05, 2012 at 11:16 PM
@ Corky, Then go buy certified GMO free food and pay a premium. But don't ask me to pay for your unproven fears. People are afraid of all kinds of things like power lines, smart meters, cell phone radiation, even microwave ovens. That's their decision to have these irrational fears. But don't ask me to pay for labeling when there's no proof of any harm.
Corky Jackson November 06, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I'm tired of these Big Ag companies getting subsidized for their GM soy and corn crops, forcing the rest of us to pay premiums for organic. In a free market system, there needs to be full transparency and a level playing field. If GMOS are so great, label them and brag about it. Unfortunately, the companies who control GMOs don't let any independent scientists study them, claiming patent infringement. It's not fear, it's a lack of ability to have full information. And where are you getting YOUR unproven fear of prices? When the European Union labeled GMOS ten years ago, prices remained stable. When the Food Allergen Labeling Act when into effect in the US in 2004, prices remained stable. The same companies already label the same food items for sale in Europe. This is a boogyman argument with no basis in fact.
hutch November 06, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I sugest you read some of the facts before you believe the hype. SF Chronicle says no on 37 "encourages lawsuites" http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Prop-37-is-not-answer-on-food-labeling-3882454.php SJ Mercury No on 37 "bad drafting" http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_21708019/mercury-news-editorial-no-on-prop-37 Oakland Tribune No on 37 "unworkable" http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_21328468/ Sacramento Bee No on 37 "shouldn't be on the ballot" http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/16/4822220/prop-37-is-a-sour-plan-for-food.html LA Times says no on 37 "sloppily written" http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-prop37-20121004,0,2668604.story
hutch November 06, 2012 at 03:20 AM
suggest (sp)
Corky Jackson November 06, 2012 at 09:34 AM
Gosh, Hutch, those newspapers -- most of them owned by MediaNews or McClatchy -- would never have any reason to ignore consumer rights in favor of their big advertisers: chemical companies, junkfood companies, grocery stores. A major conflict of interest is hardly a trustworthy source of "facts." Sort of like how the opposition had to lie and send out false mailers pretending they were from the Democratic Party. I suspect "Hutch" is a paid PR consultant for the opposition as well, since he's parroting their arguments.
hutch November 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Ok take off the tin foil hat Corky. Everything is a big conspiracy huh? Now Monsanto controls everything. Even me. Maybe they implanted something in you causing you to come up with lame arguments?
Melissa November 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Why is it such a bad thing to know what's in your food? Tell me why Monsanto and huge corporations paid millions upon millions to make something do simple and harmless fail. I don't know why it's such a big deal. Obviously, they're hiding something. On Monsanto's website, it says they want the best for us, but that's completely contradictory to what happened with Prop 37. They lied in their campaigns and that they bully farmers into making them dependent on them. It should be called agriculture, not agrochemical. There have been scientific studies on rats with GMO diets who died faster and had huge, cancerous tumors. There is evidence on how GMOs are bad for people. Everyone has a friend or relative with illnesses including but not limited to cancer, diabetes, or obesity, for example. Every other place in the world is healthier than us and has some mandate on GMOs. We're the dumbest and most obese. Hmm, connect the dots.
Melissa November 09, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I don't understand the argument of why labeling would hurt anyone. Monsanto has copious amounts money. It's not like they can't afford it or like it would make any significant effect. If they really wanted to serve us like they claim, they wouldn't spend millions trying to drown us out and wouldn't have any problem with simple labeling. The farmers don't support them, anyway. They're exploited by them. Look up Moe Parr and the Indian farmer suicides. Watch Food Inc, which Monsanto declined an interview with. Also, a lot of the votes for Prop 37 weren't even counted. According to the CA Secretary of State, it was on a voluntary basis, not mandated.
Melissa November 09, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Prop 37 was behind by 559,776 votes. Some of the biggest counties' votes were counted. "Santa Clara County: 180,000 votes remain uncounted. Orange County: 241,336 votes remain uncounted. San Diego County: 475,000 votes remain uncounted. LA County: 782,658 votes remain uncounted. In just those four counties, 1.6 million votes remain uncounted."
Melissa November 09, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Some of the biggest counties' votes were *uncounted*, not counted (my bad)
Melissa November 09, 2012 at 07:51 PM
That was as of two days after the election, November 8th, 2:30pm.
hutch November 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
People like to vilify Monsanto but the fact is most individual voters thought this prop was a bad idea. There are nuts who want everything labeled. Cell phones, high tension wires, smart meters. We can't go around insisting companies label products with NO proof they are harmful. And another thing, proponents of 37 keep saying they have a right to know what's "in" their food. Well GMO is NOT an ingredient. It's like the sunshine used to grow the crops. It exists naturally. There is no proof that GMO's are harmful to humans. And they actually help farmers to use less pesticides and fungicides. Without GMO's millions of people worldwide would be starving or dead. It seems the yes on 37 people have no problem distorting facts and imagining conspiracies everywhere. Like Melissa above who says every other place in the world is healthier than us. I think they call it paranoia. So next time don't try and fool Californians with a badly written proposition. Come up with something fair that won't hurt Californian farmers and we might vote for it.
Corky Jackson November 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM
You can throw the tin foil hat at me, or you can understand that Monsanto's gazillion dollars hired the soul-less Mercury Public Affairs, Bicker, Castillo & Fairbanks, and Huffman Public Affairs to help them lie to the good people of California. And they lie very well.
Corky Jackson November 10, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Prop 37 was, in fact, well-written. By law it addressed the one state code it was written for (products originating from GMO seeds) (milk, alcohol and meat are different state and federal codes), with enforcement mechanisms typical of any consumer rights law. And none of the opposition's lies can change any of that truth. Over 4 million people ignored the lies. We will build from here and win the next one easily.
hutch November 10, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Good luck with that.
Corky Jackson November 10, 2012 at 03:38 AM
We don't need luck. We have the will of the People. And they're PISSED OFF.
Melissa November 15, 2012 at 04:12 AM
If GMOs are so safe, why haven't there been any tests done on humans yet? The U.S. also just happens to be the most obese and unhealthy country, not to mention the huge incline in cancer, birth defects, and asthma problems. Monsanto tests their food over a 90 day period and then calls it good to go. They may be "safe" over a short time, but not for a lifetime. Glyphosphate could probably be found in the bloodstream of every American. The campaigns for no on 37 weren't even made in the best interest of the people. They were willing to spend over 40 million dollars so it wouldn't pass. Changing the labels would have costed the corporation more money, meaning they wouldn't have enough to pay their shareholders. If they can't pay the shareholders, they won't be around anymore.

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