I was very disappointed that Proposition 37 – the bill that would have required all Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) to be labeled– did not pass in California last week.
Why, you might ask, since we live in Arkansas.
It’s simple. Food companies likely wouldn’t have developed special packaging just for California and would have labeled all of their brands to the state’s standards.
Therefore, if we wanted to know if we were buying GMO food, we all lost last week.
This story, from the L.A. Times, pretty much lays it all out. Companies such as Monsanto, Dow and even Pepsico spent $46 million in a David vs. Goliath ad campaign against smaller organic interests for labeling, which only was able to spend $9 million in the last two weeks of the campaign.
I could see the Evil Empire of chemical companies were succeeding when I posted a Facebook link to the proposition a couple of weeks before the election and an otherwise smart person who I am connected to parroted the ads by the “no” campaign giants by saying the bill was poorly written and would place an undue burden on small growers and food companies.
Look, as I've written before, I do not know if GMOs are safe or not. What I do know is that not enough research has been done on them and that most of Europe, which has banned GMO foods, doesn't think so either.
Most importantly, I want to know what I am eating.
I also know what the scientists are saying. Why did Dow have a dog in this fight? Because GMO foods are grown as such because they are resistant to certain kinds of insects. Although we also know that these insects are becoming resistant to the GMOs.
This story on the Huffington Post site describes how that resistance is actually leading to more pesticide being used, instead of less. That’s what dog Dow has in this fight.
When I was a young 20-something professional, I actually sat on a federal jury in a trial in which Dow was suing a smaller pesticide company. Dow was a giant in the industry compared to the other company, and the giant’s lawyer so well trained he could rattle off quotes from thick stacks of depositions without even having to look them up.
They are able to put a lot of money into something when they want to win; they trot out their best lawyers and put on their best ads. It didn't take the jury very long to rule in Dow’s favor, we were all wowed by the show.
It’s too bad the majority of California voters were as well.
What do you think of the defeat of Proposition 37?