First of all, sorry for not posting in a while.... life has been a bit hectic, and of course the whole work thing can cramp your style sometimes...
Anyway, I really wanted to just vent some frustration around the failure of Proposition 37 in California last week. If you aren't familiar with it, it would require that any foods containing GMO's (genetically modified organisms) be labeled as such so that consumers are aware. Right now it is not a requirement in the U.S., BUT it is in 61 other countries. Granted, this was for California only, but as with many other changes, I looked to California to lead the way. To me, the argument to support this measure was simple. People deserve the right to know what they are eating... plain and simple.
1. Higher Grocery Bills: The claim is higher priced ingredients and other issues could raise bills by $400 per family per year. I don't disagree that it's not as cheap, but how much does poor health cost families and taxpayers each year? Avoiding GMO's means avoiding processed foods and focusing on healthier eating.. the result, better health. I'll admit I didn't look a things this way until a few years ago, but now it seems painfully obvious... let food by your medicine, extend your life and save $ on healthcare.
2. New Shakedown Lawsuits: The claim is that this opens up lawyers to sue family farmers and grocers without proof. My thought is, what isn't open to lawsuits these days? Seems there is an equal argument that if they don't label, growers will get sued later for NOT telling us GMO's were bad etc... no offense to lawyers, but I think class action suits are always going to happen.
3. Special Interest Exemptions: Ok.. this is an interesting point. I haven't read the specific language, but it is noted that foods sold in stores would have to be labeled, but not in a restaurant. Or that cows milk is exempt, but soy milk is not. They claim they are catering to special interests.. ok fine, easy fix, make it apply to all of those currently exempted. To me this is a backwards argument... and could easily updated in a new version by not exempting. BUT... speaking of special interests...voting no on 37 certainly supported the special interests of Monsanto and Dow etc.....
4. Conflicts with Science: Ok.. I don't care what kind of debate you are having, you can find scientific support for both sides of many arguments. I've read a few compelling reports that certain GMO's are bad, and a lot of info stating that they just don't know. My point is that if it is not conclusive, then just tell me what foods have them and what don't and let me make my own decisions based on my own research. 61 other countries require this.. we should too. Pretty simple..
So why did Monsanto et al invest huge dollars into convincing folks to vote no? If GMO's are safe, and inexpensive (their arguments), then why wouldn't they want product packaging that says.. "NOW with more GMO's!!" Who would love to grab some of that stuff? If you are supportive of the level of modification happening to your food, then why would you care? Especially if you are saving money...
The bottom line is.. there are more and more folks waking up and smelling the (non-GMO) coffee! I'd really like to believe that those of us concerned about what we are eating, and the state of our chronically ill and overweight nation will be enough to get the movement towards whole, organic and local foods moving forward. It seems that most everyone I know is on board, and are working hard to make the transition away from the "western" diet that is killing us... but what percentage of the overall population are we? And what will it take to get everyone to wake up?
Sorry... I'm getting worked up just writing this.. I've never been known to be a passionate or extroverted personality, but I feel pretty strongly about this.
So.. what can you do in the interim to avoid GMO's (if that is your choice)? Check out this Non-GMO Shopping guide by clicking here. I got this link from my good friend Matt over at Peak Geek. You should check out his blog, as he posts a lot of great mind bending stuff.
I think this video here summarizes the point behind Prop 37 extremely well... take a look, and please leave me your thoughts here as a comment, or on my Facebook page... thanks for listening to me rant!