After attempting to put this blog post together for weeks, I realize today, November 1, 2012 is THE day to spread a few words from my heart; the first day of November, on a very important month, of a very important year. This is the month of gratitude, at which month’s end, many of us will gather with our loved ones and find ways to be grateful among each other’s bountiful food and company.
Additionally, on November 6 this year, some of us will be feeling very grateful, while others will undoubtedly express other emotions; perhaps disappointment, anger or fear.
THIS is the time we must come together. Whatever our politics, we share this space in this nation, this world, this Universe.
This blog post has been challenging to assemble, as I have been gathering information about something very important to me – Prop 37, a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative. If approved by voters Nov. 6, the labeling initiative would make California the first state in the US to require labels on genetically engineered crops or processed foods, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and Hawaiian papayas. It would require labels on supermarket shelves or on food packages. While I don’t want to use this space as a political soap box, I feel we have reached an important crossroads that may strongly affect the future of our food in this country (and possibly in this world). I want to provide you with a fair amount of information from both sides, and let you know that I am voting YES on Prop 37 and here’s why:
- While the studies are still inconclusive, we have reason to be concerned that GMOs may cause allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Since most of our corn and soy products are GMO, and much of our manufactured food contains either or both of those ingredients, we should have a right to know whether we are consuming products containing GMO.
California will be following the standards of the 61 countries all over the world that are already restricting or labeling the use of GMO in their products. This includes meat, dairy and vegetables. This does not include restaurants being required to list the ingredients in their products (as they currently are not), as well as consuming meat and dairy from animals fed on GMO food. Alcohol too is exempt from labeling.
I have read some incredible articles written by incredible leaders in the food world. I have pasted a few of my favorites below (granted they are ALL from the NY Times – they are great articles).
Vote For The Dinner Party by Michael Pollan
A Simple Fix For Farming by Mark Bittman
Chefs Back Measure on Labeling GMOs
Now for some concerns regarding the wording of the Prop. This LA Times article shows that the wording can lead to trouble. The concern is that the wording of the proposition which will require companies to label their foods a certain way, “could threaten the livelihood of mom-and-pop grocers, lead the way to a plethora of lawsuits even when there’s little to no evidence, and in the end leave consumers no better informed than they are today because food companies quite possibly would just slap labels on all their products with vague wording that they “may” contain genetically engineered ingredients. It’s true, though, that there’s reason for environmental concern over genetically engineered foods, and they haven’t always been welcomed by consumers.” (Taken from Seven Foods, genetically engineered, LA Times)
The companies against Prop 37 include Monsanto, Dupont, Coca-Cola Co., Pepsico Inc. and Nestle Inc. have raised over $41 million in ad campaigns, that include messages like, passing Prop 37 will increase the cost of food, among other scare tactics. They have not released any independent studies that prove why not labeling foods containing GMOs will benefit consumers, nor have there been any independent conclusive studies proving any health benefits of GM Foods.
The Yes on Prop 37 campaign has raised $6.7 million, from contributions from smaller companies, like organic food growers, Kent Whealy, the founder of the Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve seeds for heirloom plants, as well as retailers and consumer groups as well as Mercola.com Health Resources, a privately held Illinois company that operates a “natural health” website. Naturally, as the “underdogs”, they have had to use the power of social media, vs the power of money to get their message across. And ultimately, their message is simple, we have a right to know what goes in our food.
After speaking to a family friend, who is the Director of Food Safety at a major food manufacturing plant, she confirmed that the opposing argument over a spike in food prices because of labeling is misleading. There would not be a change in price if food companies had to switch to labels that say whether food contains GMOs. Manufacturers will have time to phase in new labels or decide to change their products so they can avoid the labeling requirement. In addition, if the prop passes, it will likely have a ripple effect, including ballot initiatives in other states. Some analysts say food companies will not want to make a different set of products for California, which could mean labels on foods that contain GM ingredients nationwide.
We have to start somewhere. Regardless of your stand, please make sure to vote on November 6.
Now, if you ARE STILL READING THIS, thank you and kudos to your longer than average attention span! There is one other important thing happening in November, that I wish to share with you. My beloved yoga studio alerted me in their monthly newsletter, that this is actually MOVEMBER!
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Moksha Yoga is doing a fundraiser for Movember, if you would like to participate. And while I am generally not a mustache fan, I say, grow ’em boys! Let’s raise some awareness and kick Cancer in the ass and balls!
Love and prayers to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please donate to the Red Cross if you can.
Happy November friends! I am so grateful for all of you!