The California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act could make the Golden State the first in the country to require food manufacturers to label all raw and processed food with information about its genetics.
Other states’ efforts to do the same thing have failed, but the stakes are both higher and different in California. Requirements about food labeling here have an impact on supply chains around the country and around the world. (We eat a lot.)
The text of the proposed law calls out the harm proponents allege:
Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new toxicants and health concerns.
At a basic level, the Yes on 37 campaign argues that no long-term studies have measured the impact of genetically modified crops on people, and no good reason exists to prevent disclosing this information.
The No campaign says the World Health Organization, the FDA, the USDA and others find nothing wrong with genetic engineering of crops per se. Instead, they argue that labeling for GMOs, given the mainstream concerns about them, has the effect of putting a skull and crossbones on a package without enough education or explanation.
Spending, needless to say, will be huge. Big biotech and big ag are both against the proposal; Monsanto and DuPont have kicked in more than $4 million each to the No campaign. Yes funding is from Mercola.com ($1 million), with smaller contributions from all the ladies and gents in your Whole Foods aisles: Amy’s, Annie’s and CLIF.
We’ll get into more detail on this as it goes forward. Yes on 37 has released a new ad this week.
And here’s an video on GMO safety from opponents to 37, released last month.
I'll be reporting on Proposition 37. So for the first time, and probably not the last, I ask: what do you want to know about it?