We are disappointed that Prop. 37 did not pass but are very, very happy about the attention it brought to the issue of GMO’s in our food supply. Santa Cruz County residents voted 65.6% in favor of the proposition! Statewide, 47% voted in favor, not too bad of a margin considering the opposition spent over five times the amount of money to defeat the proposition as the Yes on 37 campaign did.
The defeat of the proposition has only strengthened the resolve of citizens nationwide to continue working on getting food products that contain GMO’s labeled. The folks at Just Label It! have started a petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking for mandatory labeling. There are over a million signers already. You can visit their site to add your name to the petition and make your voice heard.
Other states are working on their own initiatives as well. Citizens in Washington State are gathering signatures to push a labeling initiative in 2013. There is also speculation that Maine, Oregon, and New Mexico will see labeling bills in their statehouses soon. The defeat of Prop. 37 in California was only a setback, as evidenced by the number of other states stepping into the realm of mandating the labeling of GMO’s.
Over fifty countries in the world require the labeling of foods containing GMO’s. Currently, the United States does not require companies to label their products as such. We believe that consumers have the right to know what is in their food and to be able to decide if they want to buy it for themselves and their families.
One of the requirements of being a certified organic farm is that we cannot use GMO seeds in our operation, not that we would ever want to. So you can rest assured that when you purchase fruit, veggies, herbs or flowers from Route 1 Farms, you are not eating any GMO foods. Californians are leading the way with this proposition and we stand behind and with them 100%.
If you are unfamiliar with GMO’s, they are plant or meat products that have artificially had their DNA altered in a laboratory with the genes of other plants, animals, viruses, bacteria, and even humans, to produce a ‘desired’ effect from the foreign genes. The so called ‘desired’ traits are things like pesticide and disease resistance, slowing down the ripening process of fruit and vegetables to prolong shelf life, making for easier transport, and the list goes on and on.
The safety of GMO foods has not been proven nor have there been any long term health studies conducted to show what the prolonged exposure to such foods does to an individual. Imagine you have a food allergy and you buy corn that has been genetically altered with you don’t know what. If that corn has been altered with a component of the food you have an allergic reaction to, you could be in serious trouble if you were to unknowingly eat the corn. Labeling of foods would help reduce the risk of eating something that you are allergic to.
The Center for Food Safety has put out a Non-GMO Shoppers’ Guide to help customers navigate the grocery isles and to make informed choices. Unless you are buying organic you can almost count on eating GMO’s when you eat anything containing ingredients made from “The Big Four”: corn, soybeans, canola, and cottonseed. Become familiar with all of the additives that go into food that are made with the preceding four crops to help you better stay away from them!
Check out Phil Howard’s chart of the big corporations (many donated to the No on Prop 37) that own many of the organic labels. He is from Michigan State University (he was formerly at UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems) and has done a lot of research into the consolidation of food brands, beer brands, and seed companies. It’s a wake up call to see who owns many of the foods and drink companies that we eat on a daily basis.