The genetic makeup of the organisms we eat are being tempered with; about 70% of our corn and 93% of our soy, for example, are genetically modified crops. One can purchase tomatoes all year round; why is this possible?
What does this mean?
Most companies use genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) to increase crop yields. This is done by genetically engineering crops to resist pests and herbicides. The goal is to produce as as much food as possible, even if the price is a probable loss of nutrition and a possible health hazard to humans.
The uncertain risks and overwhelming prevalence of these foods has brought Proposition 37, a bill requiring many GMO’s to be labeled as such, to appear on the ballot in California this coming election.
The arguments for and against Proposition 37 go like this:
Those in support of the proposition side want a requirement for labeling many raw or processed foods offered for sale to consumers if the genetic makeup has been changed in a specific way. As it is, food that has been modified genetically is often marketed as “natural” on grocery store labels. If Proposition 37 were to pass, it would stop this deceptive abuse of the word “natural.”
The ultimate goal of this proposition is to make the consumer aware of what they are eating. Those against the measure are fighting this by arguing that the bill would cost the state money.
The change needed in food labeling and the resulting enforcement would have a negative economic impact on our state, they say. Additionally, opponents argue grocery bills would be higher for families and the poor because consumers opting to avoid the scary GMO label would have no choice but to purchase higher priced items.
These anti-37 arguments seem rational, but the perspective changes when the proposition’s detractors are taken into account. The chief opponent of 37 is the powerful GMO industry itself. Monsanto, one of biggest and most unethical producers of GMO’s, is also one of the most aggressive campaigners against the bill. It has so far donated over $7 million to “no on 37.”
This is the company that people are most worried about. Russia, for example, has banned all imports of genetically modified corn since researchers from France’s University of Caen, after two years of been feeding rats Monsanto’s NK603 corn, determined this test group developed more tumors than the test group fed with regular corn.
If one country is willing to ban GMO from one piece of very convincing evidence, why shouldn’t we? The least we can do is look through these corporate arguments and vote “yes” on 37.
*Written by contributing writer Natalie Gallo; Vicente Patino is the opinion editor*