By author, activist, and concerned mother, Shiva Rose, via the Huffington Post
This month here in California, we will have a chance to know what is in our food supply. Prop 37 will require companies to label foods so we as consumers can know for certain if a product is organic or not. As a mother attempting to feed my children in the healthiest way, this seems like a no brainer. Why would it even be an issue to want to know if something is genetically modified or not?
Sunnyvale, CA – More than 50 people rallied in front of Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California yesterday to call on Marissa Mayer and Jim Breyer, both Silicon Valley-based members of Walmart’s Board of Directors, to support Proposition 37 and to ensure that Walmart respects consumers’ right to know about genetically engineered foods.
Walmart is selling Monsanto’s genetically engineered sweet corn which contains the insecticide Bt toxin inside the corn. Proposition 37 would require the genetically engineered corn to be labeled so consumers can have a choice about whether to eat it.
“We’re asking Marissa Mayer and Jim Breyer to do the right thing for California consumers – to label Walmart’s genetically engineered sweet corn and to endorse Prop 37 because we have a right to know what is in our food,” said Joyce M Eden, San Jose Area Volunteer Coordinator with the Yes on Prop 37 California Right to Know campaign.
The effort is supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Western States Council, which has endorsed Proposition 37. “As a UFCW member and grocery worker, I support prop 37. I want to know what I am feeding my family. I’m appalled that a company like Walmart would sell Californians corn with insecticide built-in and refuse to tell us,” said Glen Raad, a grocery worker and UFCW member.
The two groups have bought advertisements online and in newspapers asking Ms. Mayer and Mr. Breyer to support Proposition 37, and they launched a website and an online petition at: www.MarissaAndJimTakeAStand.com
“Companies like Yahoo! and Facebook pride themselves on making it easier to share information. At the same time, Walmart refuses to give consumers basic information about what they’re buying,” said Eden.
Walmart, which sells roughly 25% of all groceries in the United States, announced this summer that they would begin to sell unlabeled genetically engineered sweet corn produced by Monsanto.
Monsanto claims the Bt toxins inside the corn will break down before the corn is eaten. Many have questioned the company’s safety claims and a number of major groceries have said they won’t sell the corn. Despite these concerns, Walmart is selling the product without a label indicating that it has been genetically engineered.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a California-based and family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, announced today that they have donated another $250,000 to Proposition 37, The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
According to a press release announcing this from Dr. Bronner’s, “Prop. 37 has been losing support in voter polls due to the impact of relentless and deceptive TV attack ads funded by pesticide and junk food manufacturers. At the rate of at least a $1 million dollars a day the ads mislead voters into thinking that a simple labeling law is somehow a plot by trial lawyers to get rich while food prices sky rocket.”
“These same arguments against consumers’ right to know have been made against every previous labeling regulation such as calorie and allergen disclosure,” noted the release. “Despite being vastly outspent, the Yes on 37 campaign has demonstrated through internal polling that their simple ad reminding voters of their fundamental right to know what’s in their food cuts through the flak.”
“Chemical corporations are outspending consumer groups 10 to 1 in California, so we felt we had to step up with another major donation to ‘Yes on 37’,” said David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “It’s wrong that American democracy is hijacked by pesticide manufacturers who spend vast sums of money to keep consumers in the dark. The opposition’s lies on TV will be answered this final crucial week before Election Day, while a huge grassroots surge reaches voters directly. If enough voters are reminded of their own rights and power, Prop. 37 can win.”
“Genetically engineered foods should have been labeled from the get-go in the 1990’s,” noted Bronner. “Pesticide companies genetically engineer DNA from bacteria into food crops to either produce or tolerate the pesticides they sell. Their business model is rapidly failing in the face of superweeds and superbugs resistant to their poisons. Pesticide companies like Monsanto and Dow are now doubling down and engineering resistance in food crops to much more toxic weed killers such as Dicamba and 2,4 D, the main ingredient in Agent Orange.”
Bronner added: “These pesticide companies have demonstrated they will spend any amount needed to keep the public in the dark about the secret changes they have made to our food. We have a right to know if our food has been genetically engineered, just as citizens in over 61 other countries do, including in Europe, Japan, even China. Prop 37 is just the beginning.”
Bronner said: “The writing is on the wall, win or lose we have sparked a movement. We will have the right to know in this country sooner versus later.”
We all have a right to know if the food we’re eating comes from nature or whether it was genetically engineered in a lab by companies like Monsanto and Dow. That’s why Proposition 37 is so important – it’s a label that gives us the right to know.
As my film The Future of Food describes, there are many reasons why people want and deserve the right to know about genetic engineering. That’s why I’m making my film available for free for public screenings from now until the election.
You can view the film for free, invite your friends to watch it, and read more about what you can do to pass Prop 37 here.
I encourage you to send this link to people you know who are on the fence about Prop 37, who don’t understand the incredibly high stakes in this battle to give consumers a choice about genetically engineered food.
I also encourage you to contribute to Yes on 37 in every way you can. Every dollar raised today will expand the television ad buy to get our message to voters. Donate to the ad fund here – and help us win the right to know what’s in our food!
Deborah Koons Garcia
Lily Films, Inc.
You have probably seen something about “Proposition 37” or “Prop. 37”–whether it’s been on Facebook or Twitter or in The New York Times. Or perhaps you haven’t seen anything about it and, like me, you glaze over anytime there is some political something or other that seems too hard to figure out. Well, this one is easy…or let’s put it this way, I’m going to make it easy for you to understand.
Cites Overwhelming Public Support; Concerns about Pesticides, Contamination of Organic Fields
Los Angeles — As supporters rallied in front of Los Angeles City Hall today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting Proposition 37, the Right to Know ballot measure that would label genetically engineered foods in California.
California would join 61 other countries that already label genetically engineered foods, and Prop 37 would also prohibit such foods from being marketed as “natural.”
“It’s not often that the LA City Council votes unanimously to support a measure, but Prop 37 was a no-brainer. We have the right to know what’s in the food we’re eating and feeding our families,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, the resolution’s author. “I’m proud to be a part of this true grassroots campaign in our struggle against the biggest pesticide and junk food companies in the world.”
“We’re thrilled that the Los Angeles City Council voted to join our people’s movement today,” said Tom Fendley, political director of the Yes on 37 California Right to Know campaign. “The Council joins millions of moms, dads, family farmers, doctors, scientists, and grocery store owners in saying, very simply, that we have the right to know what’s in our food.”
The Los Angeles City Council joins the California Democratic Party, Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, and dozens of other California city and town councils, elected officials and candidates in endorsing Prop 37.
“The Los Angeles City Council clearly did not believe the lies in our opposition’s widely discredited TV ads,” said Dave Murphy, co-chair of the California Right to Know and founder of Food Democracy Now! “They know Prop 37 won’t cost consumers a dime, because Prop 37 only requires a simple label. And they know Prop 37 won’t trigger lawsuits, because food companies will comply with this simple labeling law, just as they already do in 61 other countries.”
The world’s largest pesticide companies, led by Monsanto and DuPont, are the leading funders of the No on 37 campaign, which has raised more than $40 million to oppose Prop 37.
“Prop 37 won’t raise food costs, and most grocery store managers understand that it’s ridiculous to believe we’d be opening ourselves to lawsuits. Food companies will comply with this simple labeling law,” said Bruce Palma, general manager of Co-Opportunity Natural Foods in Santa Monica.
“As a family physician, I see patients trying to make the best food and exercise decisions for their families. At issue is the fundamental right to know what’s in our food,” said Dr. Sandra Salazar. “This is a commonsense measure, and we should promote personal empowerment of families to make healthy food decisions.”
Partial Resolution Text:
“WHEREAS, polls consistently show that more than 90 percent of the public want to know if their food was produced using genetic engineering;…”; and
WHEREAS, without disclosure, consumers of genetically engineered food can unknowingly violate their own dietary and religious restrictions; and
WHERAS the cultivation of genetically engineered crops can also cause serious impacts to the environment; for example, most genetically engineered crops are designed to withstand weed-killing pesticides known as herbicides; as a result hundreds of millions of pounds of additional herbicides have been used on U.S. farms….; and
WHEREAS, organic farming is a significant and increasingly important part of California agriculture. California has more organic cropland than any other state and has almost one out of every four certified organic operations in the nation; California’s organic agriculture is growing faster than 20 percent a year; and
WHEREAS, organic farmers are prohibited from using genetically engineered seeds; nonetheless, these farmers’ crops are regularly threatened with accidental contamination from neighboring lands where genetically engineered crops abound; this risk of contamination can erode public confidence in California’s organic products, significantly undermining this industry; Californians should have the choice to avoid purchasing foods whose production could harm the state’s organic farmers and its organic foods industry;…”
From Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blogger, Peter Lehner
Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. And in much of the world, they do, because of government labeling laws. For example, China, Russia, and India are among the 50-odd nations that require labeling of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. Here in America, however, we can’t get information on GMO foods. That’s because chemical companies and food manufacturers have a stranglehold on the system of government oversight that is supposed to ensure the safety of our food supply.
California’s GMO labeling ballot initiative Proposition 37 has already attracted lots of emphatic support and dissent from a host of voices, from Michael Pollan to Danny DeVito. But on Monday, a large contingent of people with a lot of credibility on food issues threw their weight behind the proposal: celebrity chefs.