GMOs- Do You Have the Right to Know?

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“As California goes, so goes the nation.”

Change often makes it’s way across the nation after California adopts progressive ideas.  Because of the political sway of our state, millions upon millions of dollars will be spent by those who oppose Prop 37 as the November vote approaches.  In attempt to convince Californians that labeling foods containing GMOs is unwarranted, excessively costly and that the cost will be passed onto consumers, hypothetically raising the price of food beyond the reach of families that already struggle to make ends meet.  It will be a campaign of awesome magnitude that paints the opposition (count me in that troop) as a bunch of sensationalistic fear mongers who don’t care about the burden labeling will have on low-income families.

Don’t Believe The Hype!

Whatever your feelings about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – the California Right To Know Initiative is NOT about the safety (or lack thereof) of engineered foods!  It is about information and choice! Here is some of the hype you will hear and the truth behind that hype.

Food Labeling Is Expensive:  Brands pay big bucks to alter packaging all the time, for new marketing, for seasonal promotions, or simply because a focus group shows preference for one color or font over another.  Even in countries where labeling is already required, the cost of adding the one phrase required by the proposed law, “May contain Genetically Modified Organisms”, has been proven to cost less that one tenth of one cent.

The “High Cost” Will Be Passed on to Consumers:  This will be a dramatic plea to save the poor that has no basis in reality.  Even if the additional 1/10th of a penny is passed on, that means a $100 food budget will only be raised by one dollar.  Next time you are at the supermarket, notice that packages change to promote the latest kids movie or sports activity.  Companies can have this single line of text changed more easily & cheaply than all the design & print costs that go into customary marketing changes that happen all the time. In my humble opinion, the real cost that threatens to be passed on to consumers would be an attempt to make up for the reduction in profits they see if consumers choose NOT to buy their GMO-containing foods.

GMOs are a non-issue: The lack of “ample” proof that GMOs present any health concerns for humans will be brought forth as a reason that this is a wasteful, unnecessary movement.  If GMOs are a non-issue, why bother hiding them? Label them and let consumers decide.  My decision is far more likely to be swayed by real farmers in the field seeing evidence of GMO corn drastically changing the lives of their pigs than by companies who profit from foods that they accepted no financial responsibility for testing.  This initiative does not ask them to pay for testing, it asks them to give us the right to decide for ourselves if we are willing to test GMOs on ourselves and our children.

Prop 37:  A Compromise Between Belief & Business

The European Union has put the responsibility of any effects, good or bad, of genetically modified foods squarely on those who stand to profit from their sale. They require those who want to sell GMO foods to E.U. citizens to absorb the cost of proving scientifically that GMO foods are without a doubt safe for human consumption.  So far, no takers on that offer!  The E.U. does not prohibit the sale of genetically modified foods in their markets without labeling.  The U.S. took the opposite stance.  Here we allow the sale of GMO foods until any scientific evidence arises that would prove GMO foods might be harmful to humans.  This stance, right or wrong, makes it easy for the business of food to be more profitable here than anywhere else in the world. The Right To Know Initiative doesn’t condone or condemn GMO foods, it simply seeks to compromise by allowing the food system to carry on with business as usual while giving consumers clear labeling so they can decide whether or not they want to buy and consume GMO foods.

The business of food can chug on as-is, profiting from the sale of untested foods.  The government doesn’t have to risk losing campaign funding by cracking down on big agribusiness.  All the cozy goings-on can stay the same for now.  The California Right to Know initiative and the national Just Label It campaign simply stand for Americans having the right to vote in the most relevant way possible in modern America, with their money.  Labeling GMO foods and GMO-containing foods give us that right, the right to spend our money in alignment with our beliefs. If we think GMO foods are perfectly safe, we go on buying them- no change.  If we don’t- we buy GMO-free

Which leads us to the real reason millions will be spent in CA…

The businesses funding the fight against the Right To Know and Just Label It are spending for one reason, and one reason only; FEAR.  They spend because they are afraid that if people have the choice between GMO-containing and GMO-free foods they will choose the unaltered form.  If the American people make that choice, supply and demand will force these companies to evolve or fail.  The market may or may not make demands over GMOs in foods, but regardless it should be your choice – not theirs – to make.  We create the demand, their profits lie in their ability to supply what we want.  So long as we don’t know which foods contain GMOs, we don’t have that choice to make.

It’s up to YOU! Those who oppose labeling can and will out spend in both marketing and legal expenses.  That is why it is up to you to stand up for your right to know by making yourself heard; with your vote in September and  in your community and with your dollars.

What can you do??

  • Vote YES on Proposition 37 in November.
  • Spread the word by linking to articles you like on the subject from your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts.  You can find lots on JustLableIt.org and CARightToKnow.org
  • Host a party!  This is not controversial.  Over 90% of Americans polled want labeling for GMOs, so you’ll find it easy to rally your friends together to celebrate our ability to be heard by voting.  Post pictures of your event on our Facebook page so we can share in your festivities.
  • Donate time or money. Big agribusiness is opening their very deep pockets in attempt to quiet our concerns and keep us in the dark.  CaRighttoknow.org has opportunities for you to help.
  • Support organic!  By definition organic produce and fully organic foods are not genetically modified.
  • Reach out to your favorite brands and retailers.  If big retailers like Starbucks, Walmart or Target refused GMO foods at theri customer’s request, their buying power would force change in the system sooner rather than later.  The system will change for the better if we make our preference for non-GMO foods clear.  Smart companies respond to their customers, but only if we make our preferences clear.

 

 

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