A million more signatures for GMO food labeling

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The people who think that all “genetically engineered” foods should be labeled as such are still organizing for the November California vote on Proposition 37. Just because groups gathered a million signatures to get the proposition on the ballot doesn’t mean they are taking a rest.

The “Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign" organizers have pledged to gather signatures from another million Californians to publicize support for voting Proposition 37 into law. The collection of signatures is the tool for keeping attention on the proposition with the public and news media.

The Yes on 37 organizers will not be dissuaded by any amount of facts, science, economics or other counterpoints being expressed by average farmers, ag industry officials or government regulators. Obviously, it has been easy pickings for campaigners to convince the average citizen to agree with having the right to know every detail about the food they are eating.  

“The campaign has tapped into a deep grassroots passion for knowing what’s in our food and created a statewide network of thousands of volunteers who helped the measure quickly qualify for the November ballot. The initiative, which calls for simple labels on foods that have been genetically engineered, collected almost a million signatures in just 10 weeks (original campaign to gain a ballot position),” a news release from the Yes on 37 group claimed.  

“No other election campaign we know of has mobilized so many voters so quickly with such a huge network of volunteers,” said Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for Yes on 37. “This is a powerful people’s movement. Californians are demanding the right to know what they are eating and feeding their children.”

Yes on 37 has initiated its One Million More signature drive using door to door solicitation and stationing supporters outside grocery stores and farmers markets across the state. The campaign to require labeling every food that might have GMO content is also being spread high and wide with online sites and various social media. More than 300 bloggers have signed on to promote Yes on 37, according to organizers.

An additional claim is that more than 800 organizations of people in all walks of life have endorsed voting Yes on 37.

“We will make history when we reach this ambitious goal of One Million More supporters. But we are making history already by standing up to some of America’s most powerful corporations to demand the right to know what’s in our food,” Malkan said.

Malkan and the Yes on 37 group say that the U.S. is a holdout on not labeling food that might have some GMO content because 50 nations of the world currently require a form of such labeling. Proposition 37 requires labeling of genetically engineered foods, which are plant or animal products whose DNA has been altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. It allows this labeling requirement to be phased in, although the ag industry doesn’t see it as a long enough phase-in period. Additionally, Yes on 37 claims this labeling change specific to California “would cost consumers nothing,” which the ag industry/food suppliers contend is a lie.

The whole basis for demanding such labeling is the underlying belief by activists that selling “genetically engineered foods that have never been proven safe for humans” shouldn’t be allowed. The big problem to Yes on 37 supporter philosophy is that genetically engineered foods have not been proven unsafe. No court case has ever been won by activists claiming the food from GMO crops is unsafe for humans or animal consumption.

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Doug Foreman    
Austin  |  July, 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM

"No court case has ever been won by activists claiming the food from GMO crops is unsafe for humans or animal consumption" So let me get this straight: If attorneys representing GMO interest win, then GMOs are safe. I get it, that makes perfect sense. I will now pay attention to my attorney for what to eat and ignore the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that GMOs have significant problems. By the way, how is that GMO drought tolerant corn working for you?

Marty Kassowitz    
July, 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Interesting how you focus this article as the efforts of a few "activists" carefully avoiding the fact that over 90% of the American voting public are in favor of labeling. Basically, Monsanto and BigAg are just not viewed as trustworthy. I'd say the industry has a much greater problem than a few activists who won't accept "facts" from industry.

Marty Kassowitz    
July, 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM

One more item, the Biotech industry positions itself as scientifically grounded and GMO labeling efforts as the work of Luddites who believe the world is still flat. This is a PR line that utterly ignores science to the contary: http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/gmo-dangers-as-reported-by-genetic-engineers/

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