Yes on 37 – Because You Have the Right to Know What’s In Your Food

 

Proposition 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) is a California initiative that would require the labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients.  Just as we have labels for nutrition content, allergy information and whether your orange juice is fresh or from concentrate, Prop 37 would simply require a label on the foods sold in grocery stores that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Read the text of the proposed law.

 

What are Genetically Engineering Foods (GMOs)?

A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA altered in a laboratory by artificially inserting genes from another plant, animal, virus, bacteria, or synthetic genetic material.  Genetic engineering is NOT the same as grafting (e.g., tomatoes), cross-pollinating (e.g., pluots), hybridization (e.g., seedless watermelons), or cross-breeding (e.g., mule or Labradoodle).  Those are hybrids.  Hybrids have occurred in nature for centuries.  Genetic engineering is quite different.  Genetic engineering didn’t begin until the 1970s with preliminary experiments using bacterial DNA.  The first genetically engineered crop designed for human consumption appeared on the market in the United States in the 1990s.   GMOs never occur naturally and can only be produced in a laboratory.  And, unlike the safety testing required for drugs, the U.S. FDA does not require safety studies for genetically engineered foods.  Learn more about GMOs here.

 

What Foods are Genetically Engineered?

Currently there are eight genetically engineered crops in the U.S.

  • Soy (94% of all soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered)
  • Cotton (90% is genetically engineered)
  • Canola (90%)
  • Sugar beets (95%)
  • Corn (88%)
  • Hawaiian papaya (>50%)
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash

Other sources of GMOs include dairy products from cows injected with the genetically engineered hormone rBGH, food additives (e.g., NutraSweet, rennet), meat and eggs from animals that have eaten genetically engineered feed, and contamination of non-genetically engineered seeds with genetically engineered seeds.

Many of the foods we feed our families contain GMOs but without labeling we don’t know which ones.  For example, Walmart sells Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn that has been genetically engineered to contain an insecticide but consumers don’t know because it’s not labeled.  Side note:  Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s refused to carry Monsanto’s GMO corn.

 

Why is Labeling GMOs Important?

We have a right to know what’s in our food.  We are free to choose what we want to eat and feed our children, therefore we have a right to transparency in our food system.  We are already able to make informed choices using the information on labels that includes nutrition content, allergy information, whether a product is gluten-free, pasturized or not, etc.  We also have the right to know whether a product contains GMOs.

Fifty countries around the world including all of Europe, Japan, India and China already require GMO labeling.  Polls show that more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered.

 

Yes on Prop 37

 

What Will Proposition 37 Do?

Prop 37 simply requires that foods containing GMOs be labeled with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering”.  It also prohibits food made with genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as “natural”.  Read the Prop 37 text for yourself.

 

What Prop 37 Won’t Do

Prop 37 doesn’t ban the sale of any food, it will only require clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified.

Prop 37 won’t increase the cost of food you buy.  When Europe introduced GMO labeling in 1997 (yes, 1997!  Get with the program U.S.), there were no increased costs.  Similarly, an economic impact study by the Emory University School of Law concluded that there would be no increase in price as a result of the Prop 37 relabeling.

Prop 37 won’t increase the cost of producing food for farmers or food manufacturers.  Companies update their product labels all the time – often multiple times per year.  Prop 37 gives companies 18 months to change their labels and allows them to add the GMO disclosure wherever they choose on their packaging.

Prop 37 won’t invite frivolous lawsuits.  An independent legal analysis by George Mason University School of Law, found that Prop 37 is more narrowly drawn, provides more exemptions from its provisions, and is likely to provide greater certainty for businesses with respect to their compliance reducing the potential for the type of abusive private litigation associated with other consumer disclosure laws.

 

Yes on Prop 37Who Supports Prop 37?

The November ballot measure has strong support from a huge grassroots organization as well as from media outlets, farms, food manufacturers, food retailers, medical groups, consumer groups and individuals throughout not only California but the entire United States.

 

 

Prop 37 endorsements include the American Public Health Association, California Nurses Association, Barbara Boxer, United Farm Workers of America, Whole Foods, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Breast Cancer Fund, Allergy Kids Foundation, Healthy Child Healthy World, Slow Food Los Angeles, Sierra Club, Green America, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s, Cliff Bar, Lundberg Family Farms, Organic Valley, Eden Foods, Dr. Bronner’s, Public Citizen, and Consumer Watchdog.

For a complete list of endorsements visit:  www.californiarighttoknow.org/endorsements

 

Who Opposes Prop 37?

Opponents include biotech and junk food companies.  Unlike the largely grassroots supporters of Prop 37, the campaign against Prop 37 is funded entirely by companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, and Sara Lee.  Not one individual consumer has made a contribution to the campaign against Prop 37.  Topping the charts Monsanto has donated over $7 million, DuPont close to $5 million, Dow $2 million, and Pepsi $1.7 million to oppose Prop 37.

 

Vote Yes on Prop 37 and Make History!

Proposition 37 will help consumers make informed choices about the food they eat. Written with broad input from food groups, industry, science, legal and health experts Prop. 37 requires clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified.  Vote Yes on Prop 37 in November because we have a right to know what’s in our food.

Please visit the California Right to Know website at to find out more about the initiative, donate, volunteer and join the coalition that is working to make this the first law of its kind in the United States.

 

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