By now, you may have already cast your ballots for election day 2012. In case you haven’t, here’s some last minute thoughts on something near and dear to me. If you live in Washington state (my home state) or California (Prop 37), chances are that you have been hearing about the state initiatives to make it mandatory to label food containing genetically modified foods (gmo’s). California leads the pack, challenging voters to make a decision on November 6th that could help bring much needed attention to the rest of the country. Washington state has until the end of the year to gather the necessary signatures to put this on the ballot in 2013.
As a consumer, here’s what you need to know:
- A majority of the opposition funding is coming from large food manufacturers and their so-called “natural foods”: Kellogg (Kashi, Garden Burger, Bear Naked & Morningstar), General Mills, Pepsico (Naked Juice & Izze), Coca Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla & Simply Orange), Conagra (Alexia Foods & Lightlife), and of course, we can’t forget Monsanto – the company that holds farmers hostage around the world with their patents and lawsuits.
- If you buy certified organic foods, they do not contain GMO’s. Why? The people who certify organic foods understand that GMO’s are not a safe risk. The research that has been done has shown the effects to be negative or inconclusive – we really have no idea about the long term effects. When I am putting it in my body, I would like to know that we aren’t just guessing that the food will be ok.
- Many of the advocates for GMO’s state that they are the solution to global hunger. Time and time again, studies have shown that access, not supply is the primary reason for hunger. In fact, with GMO’s in circulation for over 20 years, we have yet to see a decline in global hunger. So, who are we really helping? Sounds like those that benefit are the food manufacturers and the folks at Monsanto who hold patents on most of the seeds in major production around the world. The reality, is that GMO’s main purpose is to increase the yield of production – how does that help me again?
- Much of the rest of the industrialized world already requires mandatory labeling of GMO’s – the entire European Union, Japan, India and China. Shouldn’t we be leading the pack?
At the end of the day, you should be allowed to decide where to put your priorities; we vote with our dollars each and every time we go to the grocery store or out to dinner. All I ask, is that we are allowed to make an informed choice. If you support GMO labeling and live in California, make your voice heard and vote. If you live in Washington, get out and sign the petition before the end of the year to get this put to a vote in 2013 – PCC Natural Markets has signature sheets at all their stores and I am collecting signatures personally. If you live elsewhere, let’s hope that this movement gains some ground and comes your way too!