Maria Rodale from the Huffington Post published a blog on the paper’s site on Monday, indicating why California voters should support Prop 37. Remember, that proposition would require labeling for any GMO food in the state.
Normally I don’t directly respond to a particular article, but this one is just too far out there and full of too many lies and misinformation not to. Someone has to say something, so I’m using my personal soap box to do it.
So, here is my response to Rodale’s top 5 reasons to support Prop 37 (Rodale’s reasons are in italics):
1. Proposition 37 will require all foods that have GMOs in them (that is, genetically modified organisms that are engineered to withstand extra applications of chemical herbicides and pesticides) TO BE LABELED.
Rodale believes labeling is a good thing. She also believes this is will not result in a ban of GMO foods.
It is a good thing when we label food that has certain allergens in it. It is a good thing when we label food that has met a certain classification, such as certified organic. However, there is absolutely no reason we need to label GMO foods. The FDA considers GMO foods exactly the same as non-GMO foods. Additionally, there has been no credible evidence that GMO foods have caused any type of health problems. Ever.
When studies have come out indicating a problem, they’ve been discredited. (Like the recent “study” linking tumors in rats to GMOs.)
Instead, Prop 37 is a scare tactic. And while it may not ban GMO food directly, it does so indirectly. A label indicating that a food contains GMO products will only raise a false alarm to people. The food is the same, but the label will make consumers believe there is a difference. Labels scream “this is dangerous” and “pay attention.” Indirectly then, the labels will create an unfair competitive advantage for organic farmers that do no have to have the label. Farmers that do grow GMO products will take a hit. Therefore, the ballot measure economically disadvantages conventional farmers and, therefore, indirectly will led to no market for the produce. It might as well be a ban.
2. Prop. 37 will not allow foods with a GMO label to also be labeled “natural.”
So Prop 37 indicates that GMOs are somehow not “natural.” As I’ve indicated before, the natural label means absolutely nothing. But even still, food that contains GMOs is not “unnatural.” The FDA has found it to be exactly the same as non-GMO food. Prop 37 is misleading consumers, along with Rodale.
False. The opposition to Prop 37 is supported and funded by scientists, farmers, grocers, ethnic groups, business, taxpayer advocates, and academics. Rodale is outright lying in her assertion that only the companies producing GMOs are against labeling.
4. Even though Prop. 37 will make it harder and more expensive for organic producers, they embrace the labeling and are doing what they can to get the word out.
Well, duh. Of course they want labeling. Because they’re the ones that will gain the most from this. They’re products will not have to carry a label. When the GMO label is specifically designed to scare consumers, what else are they going to buy? That’s right, organic produce.
Meanwhile, it will be more expensive for conventional farmers and put them at a disadvantage locally, nationally, and worldwide.
Rodale sets a double standard. It isn’t ok for companies to be opposed to the labeling requirement because it is against their economic interests. But it is perfectly acceptable for organic producers, who stand to win economically really big, to be in favor of labeling. The organic farmers have an economic interest in this just like conventional farmers.
5. Prop. 37 will set a precedent. If the proposition passes, it will be much easier for other states to adopt the same rules.
Which is just another reason not to support it. Rodale assumes that this will make the federal government “stand up and take action.” Her unfounded beliefs rest on the idea that GMO food is dangerous and not healthy for us. Scientists completely disagree. The FDA already oversees GMO foods and keeps a close eye on them. There is tons of research and long years that go into producing these crops before any of them hit the market. We’ve been consuming them for 25 years now. There has been nothing to indicate they’re harmful.
Rodale’s suggestion is nothing more than a scare tactic. She is part of the problem: those people that will continually lie regarding GMO food. Maybe Rodale is afraid of science or has some stake in the organic crowd. Whatever the reason she continues to push the distortions, it is dangerous and a blatant attack on conventional farmers across our country.
Voters should say “NO” to Proposition 37 and support farmers.