Proposition 37 is the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative. Genetically engineered means that the genetics of the plant or animal were changed. If a product that we eat was genetically engineered, you would now know. The initiative also prohibits the labeling of foods as “natural” as many consumers are fooled into believing that “natural” foods are organic or more healthful. In truth, anything can be natural – even synthetically produced foodstuffs.
The reason for the need for Prop. 37 is because the Food and Drug Administration which regulates what we eat has allowed for biologically engineered foods to enter the food supply without any significant testing.
Why is this a concern? Let’s look at a recent study by biologist Alex Surov. He fed hamsters Monsanto’s genetically engineered soy for two years. “Originally, everything went smoothly,” said Surov. In the third generation of hamsters, things started to go wrong – the hamsters were infertile. Other bizarre characteristics also started to appear such as hair growing on the inside of their mouths. This study alone points out the need for longer term testing of foods made in the lab.
As reported in Natural Society, a fourth generation of mice being fed Monsanto corn were infertile. Thousands of sheep, buffalo and goats grazing Monsanto cottonseed in India died. Test animals were regularly found to have altered liver and pancreas cells as well as organ lesions. Overall, test animals were more susceptible to cancer.
With all of these warning signs that genetically engineered foods may be unsafe, there are still no serious long-term studies as it relates to the safety of these “Frankenfoods” as some have described them. The FDA continues to state that these foods are safe despite no meaningful testing that goes beyond six weeks.
In making up your mind as to how to vote on Prop. 37 in November, let’s look at who is funding both sides of the initiative. Those funding the ‘no’ movement include Monsanto, McCormick spices, DuPont, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills and Kraft. Their interest is clear as more than 70% of the foods that you buy from grocery store shelves contain genetically engineered products. If labeling in the California matches those in the European Union, Japan, China, Brazil and even Egypt, many U.S. companies may see their profit margins lag.
So who is funding ‘yes’? Nature’s Path Foods, Stonyfield Farms, many organic farms and numerous small donors. As is the case with the ‘no’ on 37 companies, all but the small donors have a financial stake in the initiative.
A shortcoming of the initiative is that it does not prohibit organic meats such as chickens or cows from eating genetically engineered corn. Restaurants are excluded as well. The proposition also does not deal with the health risks of the irradiation of much of our food supply.
While Proposition 37 is not perfect, it is an initiative that has occurred because of the failure of government to look seriously at the risks caused by the marriage of Big Pharma and Big Food. This once again shows how Washington DC is not looking out for you and me but embracing their largest donors while unwittingly risking the health of our children and our children’s children.
As you enter the election booth in November, continue to ask yourself, where are the leaders and who is looking out for you and me. Do not rubber stamp people on the ballot because of party affiliation. Take a little time, do a little research on your computer and see who best represents your mindset on issues of importance.