We all Lost on Labeling Initiative

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?

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12 Responses

  1. I’m still trying to make sense of the GMO labeling issue. Have you seen this report from NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/26/163700238/as-california-vote-looms-scientists-say-no-to-genetically-modified-food-labels

    I think it’s an issue that we need to keep talking about and researching.

    • Kerri says:

      That right there is the issue. a). GMOs have not had significant studies done on their safety. That is why all of the countries in the European Union have banned them. b). It is now known that GMOs, which were developed to resists certain pests are now making those pests immune from them. That is the reason they are actually requiring *more* pesticide, and more pesticide is never a good thing.

  2. Alexandra says:

    I’m back to share a letter my son in Los Angeles received today, which I thought would be of interest:

    “Thank you so much for signing this petition.

    I have to admit I have learned a great deal since starting it.

    ALL VOTES ON PROP 37 WILL BE COUNTED, not because of our petition, but because it is required by law that all votes be counted. The counties have until December 7 to report the vote and Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, has until December 14 to certify the vote.

    The final results WILL BE PUBLISHED, so every vote cast on Prop 37 will be honored.

    Because of the importance of this issue nationally, I am researching how to have an effective petition at a national level.

    Thank you, once again, for taking a stand on this important issue.”

  3. Alexandra says:

    Every week I seem to read a new story about the dangers of pesticides. Now that GMO crops, Roundup Ready crops, are not proving as resistant as previously thought, farmers are obliged to use MORE pesticides, not less. Those pesticides get in our aquifers. I was very disappointed that Prop 37 did not pass, but it is important to remember that those in favor were almost as numerous as those against. The reason people voted against it was the advertising, which was full of falsehoods. There should be a law against that type of thing. Prop 37 did not OUTLAW GMOs, it only required labels. I agree with you that we all need to consider why the chemical industry poured millions into the campaign to defeat the labeling crusade and why Big Chem doesn’t want us to know what we are eating. Thanks for writing about this topic. It is so important! Eat organic is my mantra. I hope the movement will try again, nationwide.

  4. I still can’t believe people would say they don’t want to know what is in their food. And the amount of money that was spent to campaign against this cannot possibly equal what it would cost to do the labeling. The Dow connection is scary.

  5. Rick says:

    I was a bit let down by the results. But I guess the end result is to take action myself, where possible. If it is in a grocery store, is produced by a national brand, and contains corn and/or soy, there is a very good chance it contains GMO and I will avoid it. I will do what I can to stick to the outer walls of the store where produce, meat, and dairy product reside. As the old saying goes, I will vote with my money.