Fighting for food freedom, part 2
As citizens of California, we have a "golden state" opportunity to vote on a proposition that will require labeling on packaging that contains genetically modified foods.
I am not a scientist, and I do not understand the long-term effects of eating GMOs. At the same time, I am not willing to let the Food and Drug Administration declare that eating GMOs is safe, either — especially when genetically modified food is engineered to withstand herbicides and insecticides and has only been tested on humans for 16 years.
How do we really know if GMOs are safe? Are we just one big science experiment? How do these scientists know my body chemistry and how I respond to eating such things?
As a consumer, I want as much transparency as possible about what is in the food I feed myself and my children so that I can decide what is best. I want to make that decision — not have it made for me.
I am not even sure why we have to vote on such a thing. Shouldn't the foods we eat already have full disclosure about what they are made of and made from? Why all the secrecy? If genetically modified foods are good for us, why aren't the companies that make these products standing up and touting their benefits? I would think they would be proud to market this fact.
If there are indeed no ill effects from eating foods with GMOs, then why all the hype to prevent labeling in the first place? Is there something that we are not being told? What are they hiding?
According to maplight.org, which tracks where money goes in politics, as of Sept. 30, $34.5 million has been raised to fight California's Proposition 37.
The top 10 contributors are: Monsanto Co. ($7.1 million), E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. ($4.9 million), BASF Plant Science ($2 million), DOW Agrosciences LLC ($2 million), Bayer Cropscience ($2 million), Pepsico Inc. ($1.72 million), Nestle USA Inc. ($1.17 million), Coca-Cola Co. $1.16 million), Conagra Foods ($1.08 million) and Syngenta Corp. ($1 million).
What is in the secret recipe of Coke and Pepsi that makes them want to contribute so much to defeat Prop 37? Do they not want us to know that the high fructose corn syrup used to make their product is made from — yes — genetically modified corn?
What about the candy most of us will buy this Halloween to give to our kids? All the big brands of chocolate are made with genetically modified corn, soy, canola and sugar beets.
Dr. Oz did an online poll last week to ask people if given the choice to purchase non-GMO or GMO foods, which would they choose. The results were 91 percent preferred to purchase non-genetically modified food if given the choice.
That show was aired nationally and illustrates that people want to know what is in their food.
I find the argument claiming that relabeling will cause food prices to go up a ridiculous scare tactic. Food companies are always changing their packaging. To add just a few words to a box of processed food is a non-issue.
The companies that oppose this labeling initiative talk in their ads about deceptive labeling. To me, not being fully informed about what is in my food is deceptive.
The ads ask us to get the facts about Prop 37, yet these food companies are not willing to give us all the facts about the foods we eat. We have the right to know what is in our food.
I question why these companies were all willing to pump so much money to keep GMO labeling a secret. The way I see it, that $34.5 million dollars could have been applied to the relabeling costs. What is the real issue not being disclosed to us about GMOs?
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at locally owned New Earth Market in Yuba City.