I’d first heard about the California Right to Know Act last winter, when a fresh packet of seeds arrived from Baker Creek, bearing information about the statewide campaign to require GMO labeling on food products. A couple months later, a woman petitioned me in front of my local supermarket, hoping to collect the 555,236 signatures needed to bring the initiative to ballot this year.
By summer, the Yes on 37 campaign was in full force, having gathered nearly a million signatures in a 10-week period. And shortly after, the campaign contacted me for an endorsement of this very important initiative.
Garden Betty proudly endorses Yes on Proposition 37, and if you live in California, you’ll be able to take a stand with us next month against the Big Food companies who don’t believe you have a right to be informed.
It seems almost silly that in these modern times, we still have to fight for our right to know what’s in the food we eat, and the food we feed our family and friends.
The two biggest companies leading the charge against the GMO labeling campaign are GM giant Monsanto and chemical company DuPont, along with a handful of biotech and pesticide firms, and some other little brands you may have heard of… Coca-Cola, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft, Nestle, Sara Lee… You know, the same brands that peddle junk food to you in the center aisles of the store, and the same brands that try to claim their high fructose corn syrup-laden cereals are “heart healthy.”
With all their deceptive labeling on food packaging claiming heart health and no trans fats and low cholesterol, you have to wonder why they’re all up in arms over something as simple as this: a label that truthfully states a product contains genetically modified ingredients.
The opposing campaign, No on 37, has raised over $25 million from the bottomless pits of Monsanto, DuPont, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association to run misleading TV ads and fake “editorials” in daily newspapers across the nation. In contrast, the Yes on 37 campaign is funded largely by the Organic Consumers Fund (a grassroots lobby whose donations come mostly from the individual contributions of consumers themselves) and Mercola, to the collective tune of less than $3 million.
Despite the massive (yet not so shocking) gap, Yes on 37 is rich in a resource that the other side lacks: people like you and me. The campaign has been a grassroots effort from the start, garnering wide support from everyday people, not faceless corporations. We want the same right that people in other countries have enjoyed for the last decade.
Outside of the United States, 62 countries representing more than 40 percent of the world’s population (including China, Russia, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and the entire European Union) require the labeling of GMOs. Despite being a highly industrialized nation, we are one of the few that do not have such policies in place.
From a logical standpoint, there is no reason not to support Proposition 37. This is not a proposition to ban GMOs. This is not a proposition to put GMO farmers out of business. This is not a proposition to ban restaurants from selling food. This is not a proposition to force consumers to buy organic food or overpay for “reformulated” food.
Proposition 37 is about freedom of choice. If passed, it would require food manufacturers to label GMO-containing products as “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” anywhere on the back of the packaging. With that one simple phrase, consumers can choose whether or not to purchase that item — the same way they can choose based on calorie count or fat grams. If they believe that GMOs are perfectly safe to eat, they are free to support that company. If they prefer to buy organic or natural, they are free to look elsewhere.
Worst case scenario, Big Food will continue to produce the same food you see day in and day out at your local store. Best case, they may respond to customer demand and start to produce quality food without questionable additives. In the end, the people win.
The last day to register to vote is October 22 — just one short week away! — so make your voice heard. Come November, vote Yes on Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.