Monday, November 5, 2012

A Few Different Reasons Why You Should Vote Yes on Prop 37

If you do not know what Proposition 37 is, please read the following well written and well researched articles regarding some of the issues (positive and negative) that come as a result of passing Proposition 37:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2012/10/26/gmo-questions/1658225/

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2012/11/three_things_i_learned_prop_37.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html?pagewanted=all

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The Basic Idea:

A Yes on Proposition 37 will force producers to slap a GMO label on foods that are produced genetically modified.  The largest multinational companies in the US want to defeat this badly and they argue that it would cost California more money and result in unforeseen amounts of litigation and issues.  Supporters want transparency and the ability to adopt a system that helps them stay aware of the food choices they make when they are purchasing their produce and ingredients.

A Few Different Reasons:

I will try not to regurgitate the pros and cons written in the links above, but I will offer a few different perspectives regarding this proposition – and they may or may not be bulletproof, but they seem logically sound to me when I did my research regarding the decision to support Proposition 37. 

1. Without much argument, I support transparency in food.  Its very simple.  This alone is enough for me to vote yes on 37. 

2. The economic arguments and propaganda spat out in this arena are not what they seem.  I don’t think either side has a good grasp of what the final cost to each other will be, consumer vs. manufacturer.  And if they do, I don’t think they would want to disclose that information.  Who I think should benefit from this are the non-GMO farms and local farms.  This only re-centers the argument for purchasing, offering and eating local produce from local farms.  Prominent nearby counties, including Marin and Mendocino currently have their own county bans on GMO farm production.  I reason that Prop 37 should more likely stimulate California small farms and producers in some minor economic way.  If anything, it just always provides a better argument to offer local produce, which brings me to my next point… 

3. It forces your current supermarket or Safeway chain to reconsider how they market, select and offer their current produce.  Because frankly, the produce at Safeway is already a sorry excuse for anyone looking to cook anything from scratch.  Influencing WHERE we shop is every bit as important as the influence on HOW we shop.  If people begin to understand their decisions in a supermarket and make alternative decisions based on a GMO label, then supermarkets will forge and find new appropriate items to properly echo those sentiments.  It essentially forces the economics of the supermarket into a slightly more consumer-advantage direction instead of a manufacturer’s jungle.   

4. I think this was either mentioned by Bittman, but probably the most important part of a yes vote would be the conversation.  Generating the conversation of GMO labeling on a national level by becoming the model would be monumental for future food legislation. 

5. I understand the pitfalls of legislation, but in the end – we all want to be aware of how things are going to affect us – namely the bottom line.  We all essentially want to make smart decisions.  Human consciousness necessitates I always ask the simplest and most important question: why?  If they believe the science doesn’t specify differences between GMO and non GMO, and, they believe that the cost would only be incurred by consumer primarily, then why does a company spend so much money into trying to prevent me from seeing a label?  I know the answer as to why I want to see a label, but I’m not sure there’s been a sufficient resounding answer about why I wouldn’t. 

6. The trend for human health is not going the right direction.  Worldwide cancer is suggested to be 75% higher by 2030.  Worldwide incidence of allergies are higher than ever.  Obesity rates have almost doubled since 2000.  The increase of processed foods is likely higher than it has ever been.  Things are not trending in a positive direction here and while you might not be able to draw a line for those things back to GMO foods (highly unlikely), it really wouldn’t hurt to start putting some speed bumps in the way of how people eat and treat food right now.  In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to put some iron fences up either.

7. People who live in countries that have banned GMO production almost all have longer life expectancies than we do.  It might not have everything to do with GMO’s, but that’s probably at least a considering factor in addressing the food issue here.  There are a few that don’t have longer life expectancies, but those countries suffer from either lots of famine or lots of war.

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