Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Analysis of Proposition 37

Greetings readers,
As the semester winds down, we had to choose a final project for my composition class.  I chose a more formal paper to take a look at Proposition 37 that was voted on in the State of California.  Its unfortunate that this was voted down.  We can thank the unscrupulous companies who use GMO products for lobbying against it. 

In the November 2012 elections, the State of California voted on a proposition that would require food manufacturers to label the food if it had GMO grains in it. Many people in our nation feel we have the right to know what is in our food. Others really feel that it doesn't matter and that food is food. Does it matter? Many companies have done research asserting that eating GMO grains are detrimental to our health. I feel that as a nation have a right to know what is in our food because food manufacturers were required to put the ingredients on the label, if the food is made with GMO grain, we should know about it.

Proposition 37 would require food manufactures to label food going into the State of California to have a label if it has GMO product in it. Currently 20 states have bills in committee that would require the labeling of GMO products coming into the state but out of all these states, California is the only one that made it to a vote. Since the vote failed in California, the movement that brought it to a vote is now looking to Oregon and Washington to bring it to a vote again.

Proposition 37 would require raw and some processed foods to be labeled as having GMO product in them. It would prohibit food from being labeled “natural.” It would exempt foods that are certified organic, foods that unintentionally used GMO ingredients, meat that was unintentionally fed GMO grains or processed with only a small amount of GMO ingredients. It would also require the labeling of dog food with meat in it that used GMO fed animals but meat for human consumption would be exempt.

Soy products are required to have labeling but not milk and cheese products. Food coming in from other countries are not required to be labeled if they say the food doesn't have GMO product in it thereby creating a loophole for foreign countries to import their food into our country that may or may not have GMO food product in it.

So what are the positive points of GMO labeling? First off, we would know what we are eating and would have a choice as whether or not to eat a GMO food or go for the more natural unmodified food. Independent doctors and researchers have tried to warn us of the health dangers of GMO foods but the FDA has let the nation down as far as requiring the labeling of GMO products. The European union and Japan have required any food coming into the countries to be labeled, why them and not us?

A study done in Canada on 30 pregnant women found that the chemical Cry1Ab, the Bt toxin was found in pregnant women. A study done by Monsanto showed that this chemical caused kidney and liver damage in rats. A 2009 report showed that this chemical use was up by 200% and the companies that are producing it are saying that its not getting into the bodies of the people who eat the food.  Some complications of this toxin in pregnant women are; prenatal complications like abortion, prematurity, fetal growth restriction, and pre-eclampsia or reproductive disorders. C-sections and infertility cases are climbing higher and higher every year.

More than 40% of the population in 50 countries around the world have said they want GMO labeling so they can make a choice. If GMO grains are such a good deal, why not be proud of it and have the label on the food? No long term safety studies have been done on GMO food, independent scientists have said that we won't see the long term affects of ingesting GMO foods for a long time.

What is the downside to the labeling of GMO? According to opponents of Proposition 37, it would require food manufacturers to either relabel all food going into states that require labeling or make their food out of more expensive food ingredients therefore increasing the cost of food for the consumer. They are also saying that it would require new packaging with the GMO label therefore increasing the cost of the food.

According to the sponsors of opposition of Proposition 37 it was written by a lawyer that has so many laws written into that it would open up lawsuits to any grower without any evidence of harm. t hereby passing on the cost of the food to the consumer because the grower would need to recoup their losses that are lost thru lawsuits. This is one of the reasons why opponents of Proposition 37 are saying that average consumers grocery bill will go up $400 per year.

According to opponents this would be a hidden tax that would hit the people that could least afford it - the elderly and the poor. They are already on a fixed, tight income and this hidden tax would add to their burden of being able to make ends meet.

During the 2007 election, presidential candidate Barack Obama said that Americans have the right to know what they are eating. Obama said “Here’s what I’ll do as president. I’ll immediately implement country-of-origin labeling, because Americans should know where their food comes from.

We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they’re buying.” This was said during his 2007 election campaign. The big question now is that since he has been re-elected will he keep his promise during his second term?

According to Michael Pollan in an interview that he did with Amy Goodman, he said that in a way "Obama endorsed Proposition 37.” He promised this Iowa farmers before the Iowa caucuses which led to a round of applause from the audience.

According to Pollan, “this is not a California issue, this is a national issue.” What happens in California usually spreads across the country. Gay marriage is a good example of this. First legalized
in California, it is now legal in many other states despite how many voters feel about it.

For the past 20 years Americans have tricked into eating food that is believed to be equivalent to food thanks to a Bush loophole and with the help of former Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor who was installed as the Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the FDA that drafted a policy in 1992. The FDA also approves all drugs that have been recalled over the years including almost 1,800 in 2009.   Can we really trust them to make sure we are eating safe food ?

As someone who knows how the farming community works. As someone who has seen Monsanto in action, closely watching the farmers who won't comply with their rules, watching the drivers who leave their driveways and watching them until they head to the grain dumps, I have to wonder why are they so insistent on everyone complying with their rules?

An Iowa farmer fed his pigs GMO grain only. All of his pigs became sterile. They would be impregnated, go thru the pregnancy process but when it came time for them to give birth, nothing would happen. It was like they were going thru a pseudo pregnancy. Another Iowa farmer from Milton who plants both GMO and non-GMO grain. He says that the non-GMO outproduces the GMO grain.

Do I believe that food needs to labeled if it has GMO in it? Absolutely, without a doubt. I have the right to know if I'm eating food that is going to change how my body works. I have the right to know that if I eat that food, it may cause infertility, it may change my DNA or it may cause other problems. The U.S. Is the sickest nation on earth right now. We spend more on healthcare than any other nation in the world. There are so many factors that factor into this statistic. But the one main factor that is associated with this topic is that we allow GMO product into our food and we're not even allowed to know about it.

It puts a whole new meaning to the dumbing down of America.

Works Cited

"California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (2012)." - Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Dave. "A Movement Grows Around GMO Labeling From Iowa to California: Will Obama Keep His Promise in a Second Term?" Food Democracy Now RSS. Food Democracy, 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Fendley, Tom. "Yes on 37 Blog." Yes on Prop 37. Right to Know, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"Food Democracy Now." Food Democracy Now RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Green, Michael. "GMOs and Prop 37: Protecting Your Right to Know, Protecting Your Health." The Huffington Post., 02 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Guillet, Ananda. "Iowa Farmers Pigs Sterile From GM Corn." Son of A Farmer RSS. N.p., 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"Label Genetically Engineered Food." Label Genetically Engineered Food. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"Label GMOs, Genetically Modified Foods - California Committee For The Right to Know - A 2012 Ballot Initiative Campaign." LabelGMOs. Label GMOs, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Main, Emily. "Genes from GMO Food Do Wind Up in People, Study Shows." Genes from GMO Food Do Wind Up in People, Study Shows. Rodal, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Main, Emily. "The Next Election Could Save Our Food Supply | Rodale News." The Next Election Could Save Our Food Supply | Rodale News. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"A Movement Grows Around GMO Labeling From Iowa to California: Will Obama Keep His Promise in a Second Term?" A Movement Grows Around GMO Labeling From Iowa to California: Will Obama Keep His Promise in a Second Term? N.p., 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"A Movement Grows Around GMO Labeling From Iowa to California: Will Obama Keep His Promise in a Second Term?" Street Insider. N.p., 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.

"No on Prop. 37 Get the Facts." No on Prop 37 Get the Facts Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

"Proposition 37 at Yes on Prop 37." Yes on Prop 37. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Roseboro, Ken. "Information to Ensure a Safe, Healthy, Sustainable Food Supply." Iowa Organic Farmer Says Non-GMO Corn Outperforms GMO. The Organic and Non-GMO Report, 1 Apr.
2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Ruskin, Gary. "California General Election." Proposition 37. State of California, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Westervelt, Amy. "Monsanto, DuPont Spending Millions to Oppose California's GMO Labeling Law." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

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