I usually try not to be political in my posts about natural health, but one ballot proposal deserves your attention. It’s in California, and whether or not you live in California, it affects you directly, and you can affect the voting outcome directly.
The measure is called Proposal 37, and it calls for labeling on genetically modified organisms in our food supply. Many Americans aren’t yet aware of GMOs, but are consuming them daily. Over time, farmers have taken seeds they particularly like and have cross-bred them to make the resulting food easier to grow and better looking. This practice is not harmful. However, beginning in the mid 1990s, government gave the go-ahead for the country’s largest food producers to develop genetically modified foods. This means that, rather than naturally cross-breeding to make a better plant, scientists in laboratories began inserting and replacing parts of DNA with other DNA from separate species, and sometimes not from plants, but from animals. The purpose of these modifications is generally to make the crops more resistant to pesticides. For this reason, many of the genetically modified foods are called Roundup-Ready, which means that endless amounts of Roundup (pesticide that is highly toxic to pests, but also humans), can be sprayed on these plants without killing the plant, as it would do to non-GMO crops.
Most GMOs are found in corn and soybean products currently, although canola oil and cottonseed oil and a small number of other crops are also sources, with more being added regularly. In fact, the vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in America are genetically modified. Estimates from the mainstream media indicate that 80% of processed foods in America contain at least some GMO foods in the ingredients.
There was zero oversight into allowing these genetically modified foods into our food supply. No studies were required to verify safety. To this day, not a single human study exists to verify short term or long term health risks of GMOs. Rat studies do exist and the results are shocking. The following links verify from peer-reviewed studies that the rats suffered from hepatorenal (liver and kidney) toxicity among other health concerns:
Additionally, a new study from the University of Caen in France, the first long term GMO study on rats, found that those exposed to GMO corn alone, Round-Up pesticide alone, and conventional corn plus Round-Up pesticide all had significantly higher rates of cancer and tumors than those exposed solely to conventional corn. The results were widely criticized by those in the food industry and the “No on 37” crowd. I personally am a scientific researcher in addition to a nutritionist. The qualms they had with the design of this study in my opinion held very little scientific weight. Here is a link to the study: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/20/science/la-sci-gmo-food-study-20120920. Nonetheless, if a significant number of studies indicate that negative effects are at least possible, it clearly is an indication that more studies need to be done. Rather than agree that more studies are necessary, the “No on 37” crowd continues to argue that no other studies are needed because GMOs are already shown to be “safe”. Of course, this means “safe” according to them and the government bureaucrats they pay off.
Many people have seen reports about unexplained rises in diseases of childhood that can last throughout adulthood, including autism, allergies, asthma, and more. Official government scientists continue to assure us that vaccinations are not to blame, which may or may not be true (billions of dollars of litigation would be at stake if the government ever admitted to a correlation).
Okay, so if vaccinations aren’t the cause then what is the cause? People’s genetic makeup didn’t just spontaneously mutate within the last two decades and render these diseases genetic. The cause is environmental. Perhaps genetically modified foods have something to do with it. Of course, I couldn’t prove such a correlation to you, but it is highly plausible in my opinion. Public health officials are always quick to shoot-down any theory on causation, but remember this… something must be causing these increases in diseases.
Whatever the case, I pay hard earned money for my food, and I have a right to know whether it contains crops that have been inserted with foreign DNA. I have a right to know if the food I buy has been specifically designed to withstand pesticides that are known to be highly toxic to humans.
So, where do you come in on this matter? It happens that California has the largest population of any state in the U.S. For this reason, if the law passes, food manufacturers will most likely provide the California food packages with labels to the entire United States. Therefore, California voters are affecting your refrigerator and your food pantry directly.
The long term implications of this proposal are far more significant than simple labels on packages. If labels were the only issue, the largest food and chemical corporations wouldn’t care all that much about the proposal. Instead, they care immensely and are investing millions – estimates are between 8 and 10 times the amount of money that the proposal supporters are spending. The reason is the fact that labels signal to the public to not buy the food. Given the choice between two products with all other things being equal, most people will choose the non-GMO variety. This means that food corporations eventually will have to submit to the will of the public and once again grow and offer non-GMO foods. These companies don’t like this option, because the only seeds allowed to be patented are the GMO seeds. Therefore, they lose the monopoly on the seeds and once again food is subject to the economic laws of commodities rather than monopolies.
Are you beginning to understand how companies have immense financial incentives to keep you in the dark, even when they know about (but won’t admit to) significant dangers to public health? They will say anything to get you to vote against this bill. Usually, I believe that people in positions of power for the most part do what they believe is correct for the most amount of people. I believe that both Romney and Obama believe what they are doing is best in most cases. The leaders of these corporations know full well that what they are doing is wrong. It has everything to do with greed and lack of respect for fellow human beings. You can be sure that the largest food company executives eat organic foods in their own homes (which automatically excludes GMO foods). Reputable reports indicate that both Romney and Obama, as well as the Bushes and Clintons, and their families eat largely organic foods. http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/report-monsanto-man-mitt-romney-eats-organic. But both Romney and Obama will do nothing to advance the cause for labels on non-organic foods. It is in the hands of the people of California.
The following are arguments from the “No on Prop 37” crowd, and their repudiation:
Proposition 37 picks winners and losers: For example, they correctly point out that restaurants and store-bought alcohol don’t need to label their foods. Restaurants have never been required to put nutrition or ingredient labels on foods (except for some legislation regarding major chain restaurants). So telling them to label this one area wouldn’t make sense. Alcohol makers could in fact be getting an unfair break. However, should we reject a positive proposition that moves the country forward based on a single bad line? The proposition also states that dairy and meat products coming from animals that were fed GMO based food would also not have to state this on the label. Again, is this unfair? Perhaps it is, but why would this change your mind about voting for the law as a whole? Modifications can be made later, but it is time to put the law on the books now.
Proposition 37 would make food cost hundreds more per year for the average family: This is absolutely false. Did food prices skyrocket when laws were passed regarding introducing nutrition and ingredient labels? No. Does food cost comparatively more in the dozens of nations that already require labeling (which include the entire European union, Japan, China, Brazil, India, Australia, Russia, and many more)? The answer is absolutely not. Labels cost the same whether a couple new words are added or not. There could be a small increase in cost, but only if companies choose to give California its own food labels, and this would never happen. Based on economies of scale, food companies would almost certainly provide the same labels to the entire country (which is good for you and me).
The law is too complicated or confusing: The law is actually very simple. Foods made from GMOs need to be labeled. Current technology exists to test whether a food is made from GMO seeds or not. If a company is not careful to separate their crops when using both varieties, they simply need to test their products and label them the correct way.
You can help this law pass. Chances are, you have a Facebook or Twitter account where people can see what you post. Chances are, you have at least one friend from California. Chances are, even if you don’t have a friend in California, any of your dozens or hundreds of friends will have one or multiple friends in California. Share this post. Tell them to VOTE YES on PROP 37 and Spread the Word to Their Friends!
Image courtesy of chokphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net