Page 12 - Delta Living Magazine_october2012

Basic HTML Version

n the Nov. 6 ballot this year, California
voters will be asked a straightforward
question: Do we deserve the right to
know what’s in the food we eat and feed
our children? Or is that choice better
left to the agrichemical and pesticide
corporations that make billions of dollars
a year by keeping consumers in the dark?
Prop 37 would simply require food sold in
California supermarkets be clearly labeled
if it has been genetically engineered.
I want to know if the food I buy has
had its DNA fundamentally altered in a
laboratory with genes from other plants,
animals, viruses or bacteria, in
ways that can’t occur in nature.
Many of the foods on our shelves
today – even children’s cereals
marketed as “natural” – have been
genetically manipulated in this
way, without our knowing about it.
The good news is – according
to poll after poll – 9 out of 10
labeling of genetically engineered
foods. More than one million
people submitted comments to
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) asking for such labeling, more
than any petition in FDA history.
And in just 10 weeks, an unprecedented
people’s movement in California gathered
nearly one million signatures, easily
Prop 37 matters to our community because
there is an increasing number of studies
that raise doubts and concerns about the
safety of GMO foods. A growing body
of science suggests that they may be
contributing to rising rates of allergies,
especially among children. Similarly,
there is a shocking lack of data about their
health impacts, because these genetically
gives Californians an historic opportunity to
label genetically engineered foods
engineered crops have never been subjected
to any lengthy human health studies.
In fact, the FDArefuses to even require such
studies and relies on producers to vouch
for safety. In other words, we’re being
told to just “trust the companies.” Where
does that leave a mom in the grocery store?
This past June, the American Medical
Association (AMA) called for mandatory
pre-market safety testing of genetically
engineered foods as part of a revised policy
that it voted on at its annual meeting.
While we wait for the data, let’s at least
As a recent bipartisan congressional
letter to the FDA noted, “At issue is the
fundamental right consumers have to
make informed choices about the food
they eat … the agency currently requires
over 3,000 other ingredients, additives and
processes to be labeled; providing basic
information doesn’t confuse the public, it
empowers them to make choices. Absent
labeling, Americans are unable to choose
for themselves whether to purchase GE
foods … we urge you to fully review the
facts, law and science, and side with the
American public by requiring the labeling
of genetically engineered foods as is done in
nearly 50 countries throughout the world.”
For decades we didn’t label foods with
calorie or nutritional value information, but
we do now, and most consumers use this
information every day to the benefit of their
health and their children’s. Likewise, it’s
time to label genetically engineered foods.
Not everyone agrees. Opponents include
the lobby groups for the pesticide,
agribusiness, and junk food industries
- who have already given over $32.5
million to defeat Prop 37
These same
have opposed everything from
nutrition and country-of-origin labeling,
to banning hazardous chemicals such
as BPA (bisphenol A is an industrial
chemical that has been used to make
certain plastics and resins since
the 1960s) from food and food
packaging. The “No” campaign’s
two largest donors - Monsanto ($7.1
million) and DuPont ($4.9 million) –
are the same companies that told us
Agent Orange and DDT were safe.
And now their eyes and check books
are zeroed in on defeating Prop 37.
I urge you to join more than 1,000
groups and businesses that have
endorsed the
Right to Know
– including the Consumer Federation of
America, California Certified Organic
Farmers, Public Citizen, Sierra Club,
California League of Conservation
Voters, Center for Food Safety, and
Physicians for Social Responsibility.
So when you go to the polls on Nov. 6, ask
we have a right to knowwhat’s in our food?”
By Zack Kaldveer
-These views may or may not reflect those of
the Delta Living Magazine.