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Proposition 37 - GMO Labeling

I'm not from California, heck I'm not even from the US but I am very interested and closely following Proposition 37 (GMO labeling). I'd be very interested to hear what California residents have to say about it. Surprisingly I can't seem to find any threads about this, I hope I'm not duplicating.

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  1. Saw a great ad for prop 37 with lots of dif famous types giving reasons to have labeling. I forwarded the ad to a friend in CA who thot the ad was very well done but that she had not seen any ads (TV or mailings) for Prop 37, but had seen lots of (very misleading ads) about how bad it will be for labeling to pass. How can anyone come to the conclusion that it is bad to know what's been put in your food???

    1 Reply
    1. re: ElsieB

      Hundreds of chefs have publicly come out to support the measure. The NY Times reports:

      "More than 700 of the nation’s chefs and professional foodies, from prominent names like David Bouley to up-and-comers like the chef Bryant Terry of Oakland, have lined up to support a California ballot measure that would require food companies to label products containing genetically engineered ingredients."


      "How can anyone come to the conclusion that it is bad to know what's been put in your food???"

      Until recently, very few people. Studies done over the past few years have show over 90 percent of the Nation in favor of labeling. http://gefoodlabels.org/gmo-labeling/... But that was before the ad campaign noted below.

    2. Bill Maher had the head of Stoney filed dairy on talking about Prop 37. He made a very interesting (pro) case I'll see if I can find the link.

      The against forces are out spending the pro's some thing like ten to one.

      1. We are voting yes to 37. My husband actually filled up his ballot yesterday and mailed it out. We like to know if what ever we eat contains GMO and make an inform decision to whether to buy it or not.

        1. Prop 37 is getting heavy "yes" messaging on social media, I have yet to see a vote YES ad on television.

          The NO on Prop 37 folks (hello Monsanto) have run thousands of ads saying that farmers don't support Prop 37, it will cost millions to implement and enforce, physicians don't support it, and that it will add billions to the cost of food, or $400 annually per family.

          All the proponents would need is one very good ad debunking a lot of the negative rhetoric. Not sure why they've seemed to drop the ball on this. Just based on the veractiy of the negative campaign I'd be surprised if the prop passes, sad to say

          2 Replies
          1. re: DiningDiva

            Interestingly, I saw a yes-on-37 ad today, not on broadcast or cable TV, but on Hulu Plus, where I've seen a few yes-no ads for CA propositions that reflect the less-money side of the partisans (streaming through my TV, which may have different ads than via computer, don't know).

            1. re: DiningDiva

              I don't watch most commercials, but have been catching a LOT more yes on 37 commercials in the last few days...

            2. i'll be voting yes, and AFAIK all my CA friends will be as well. but i fear that limited awareness (thanks in no small part to the absence of TV ads) may result in a lack of support.

              1. "Ballots which record neither a "yes" nor a "no" on the proposition are ignored in determining the outcome. In other words, the majority of voters required for passage refers to a majority of those voting on that proposition, rather than a majority of those voting in the election held at the same time or a majority of those who are registered to vote."

                Shouldn't the above statement actually help the "Yes" side. I've been reading articles that as someone posted above said, the No side (courtesy of all the fake food industry and chemical guys) is way outspending the Yes side but I could still picture a lot of people not knowing about this prop or caring to vote and hence tipping the scales to the Yes side.

                I believe it was a recent Michael Pollan article that stated polls have the prop in a dead heat, originally the Yes was ahead 70/30. I guess all that advertising has helped the fake food industry. I would like to see a similar labeling law here in Canada although I can't see that happening right now with Harper in power. Clearly the fake food industry believes that ignorance is bliss and that labeling will clearly cut into their sales of packaged products when people realize how our food is actually grown.

                It's safe to assume that a large majority of the population have no idea what a GMO is let alone that it is in 90% of packaged foods via GMO corn and soy.

                4 Replies
                1. re: JerkPork

                  The push against the law is overwhelming. Here's an exert from Bittman's piece yesterday on the subject:

                  "All of this could begin to change on Election Day, when California’s Proposition 37 — which would require the labeling of most foods containing G.M.O.’s — goes to a vote. On Sept. 15, I wrote that “polls show Prop 37 to be overwhelmingly popular: roughly 65 percent for to 20 percent against, with 15 percent undecided.” But thanks to an infusion of big bucks by the opposition (led by Monsanto, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association[2]), support for labeling is eroding. By some accounts the “no” advocates are spending $1 million a day, and a recent poll says the margin is now just 8 percent."


                  What seems particularly amazing to me is the fact that the million dollars a day they are spending to fight the law would have been the money that could have been spent to comply and not pass the cost to the consumers. I hope that there are enough Californians who can see past the nonsense they are being served.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    The local ABC affiliate in my city has been using the last 5-7 minutes on their 6 pm newscast to do interviews with local candidates and both sides of the State propositions. Last night Prop 37 was featured. The person repsenting the NO faction was very well spoken and very persuasive. The person representing the YES faction was much less so. Tho' she was able to pick up some momentum and make some good points by the end of the interview, she was not the best (i.e. most effective) choice to have put on TV to get the message out to voters. It reminded me ever so much of the 60s with hippies arguing their point against slick corporate business.

                    But this being CA anything could happen. We do have a history of being ahead of the curve on issues like this. I'm still quite mystified as to how and why the Prop 37 advocates have totally and completely dropped the ball on promoting and supporting their ballot initiative

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      They had a massive lead in the polls, overwhelming popular support conceptually, but failed to comprehend how much money would be spent to defeat the measure. Maybe they figured Monsanto would spend a decent amount, but I don't think that anyone really understood the impact of unlimited corporate money on a State proposition vote - the impact of Citizen's United is just beginning to be understood this cycle.

                    2. re: MGZ

                      Your last paragraph is so true.I hope sensible numbers prevail,all of the nation will benefit.

                  2. Michael Pollan interview from this morning on, Democracy Now.


                    1. I wish it were available for the whole country to pass. The deception in food stuffs is disgusting.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Nanzi

                        If it passesin CA, the rest of us will benefit. Manufacturers are generally not going to maintain two sets of packaging with and without GMO labels. Just as the pillows I buy in North Carolina carry CA consumer safety labeling, nationally distributed food will carry the CA mandated labels.

                        1. re: mpjmph

                          A very valid and keen observation regarding the far flung and trickle down effect.

                      2. Interestingly, some of the highest profile newspapers in the state have endorsed "no" on Prop 37, and none of them use the "it would cost consumers additional $$" argument. The main argument the Chronicle and the Bee puts forth is that the language of the prop is vague as to enforcement, and that the only way to enforce the law is through litigation. The Bee also mentions that it may effect non-GMO foods unintentionally. The LA Times argue that the proposition would only be a piecemeal legislation.

                        This shows part of why the ballot initiative process is a difficult process. An idea in theory that is supported by most people comes down to the nitty gritty when written into law, and the vast majority of voters will not have read the actual language of the proposed law. This is now on my agenda to read.


                        1. I hitnk that one of the reasons that growers are modifying plants, is to make them resistant to insect and fungus damage. People will be resistant to purchasing food labeled HMO. Perhaps if they were also required to label food that it had also been treated with insecticides and/or fungicides that people might give the HMO stuff a second thought.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: junescook

                            But GMO plants do get treated with herbicides, in most cases with Roundup. That's the whole point of Monsanto's seed, it's been modified to resist just their own spray glyphosate aka Roundup, then when planted the fields are sprayed with Roundup which kill all the potential surrounding weeds except for the actual crop that was planted.

                            I agree their should be labeling of other sprays used on non GMO offerings.

                          2. Several years ago, when I tried to find out the source of soybeans used in Yves products, the company told me that that was "proprietary" info! Not only can't we see what's in our food, but we can't see where it's grown. The more we know, the healthier we be!

                            1. Here's a summary of the obscene amounts of money being spent by corporations to avoid simply having to say "this food may include some sort of genetically modified something".


                              1. If they can keep the fact that a certain vegetable/fruit came from a specific country of origin (which I see in supermarkets, then it is no more difficult to label whether it is a GMO crop or not. In a free market, the consumer should be given the information to make the right decision for them. The fight against GMO labelling is because they are afraid that well informed people may just be afraid of something new. For me taste is more important, so I am not sure that seeing GMO on it will by itself affect my purchasing decision -- but you never know.

                                1. This one should be passed. Big agriculture is spending tons of money against it, saying food costs will go up for people (of course only because big agriculture will be passing those costs down to the consumer).

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Bunson

                                    More accurately...big ag will ultimately be forced to sped big $$$ to modify their business practices - including the actual growing process - in order to comply and that will, ultimately, impact their profits. Just follow the money trail

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      WOW. Unreal, I can't believe 37 didn't pass by a landslide. There's actually people that want to eat this stuff?

                                      I guess that huge ad spend by Monsanto, etc.. paid off.

                                      37 Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling
                                      4,277,985 46.9%(YES)
                                      4,835,045 53.1% (NO)

                                      1. re: JerkPork

                                        i'm disappointed but really not surprised. $50 million well-spent by Monsanto, DuPont, Pepsi et al.

                                        i guess the limited upside is that it did increase awareness among many consumers, and at least now there's a dialogue...

                                        1. re: JerkPork

                                          $50 million from big biz in anti-labeling, including the scare tactic that it would cost BILLIONS more to implement and jack up already high food prices did the trick.

                                          But the issue has seen the light of day, this is California, the opening salvo has been launched. LIke gay marriage and the legalization of pot, this issue is just finding it's legs...

                                          1. re: JerkPork

                                            37 Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling
                                            4,277,985 46.9%(YES)
                                            4,835,045 53.1% (NO)

                                            This is the right result.

                                            No matter how you feel about the GMO issue, Prop 37 was one of the most ill-conceived and poorly written propositions to make it on the CA ballot in a long time, if not ever.

                                            This is one reason why states should not have propositions -- especially ones that have their genesis on wedge issues -- open to the popular vote.

                                            It's always baffled me why we make people pass a test (sometimes 2 of them) before we allow you to drive on the public roadways, but we don't have a similar test for voting. As far as I am concerned an uninformed voter can do far more damage than an untrained driver.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              As far as I am concerned an uninformed voter can do far more damage than an untrained driver.
                                              considering how polarized we are regarding the presidential election, i'm pretty sure every one of us thinks at least half the nation's population is "uninformed" based on the way they voted last night...

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Yes, but having one state have standards different than the rest of the Union is pretty stupid and inefficient. Labelling laws should be federal since it has a lot to do with interstate commerce. I do think that it should be labelled, to give consumers choice.... but having one state do one thing is not the best way to go about it.

                                                1. re: cacruden

                                                  one state is often where these things start. same-sex marriage, medical (and now recreational) marijuana, even increasing the legal drinking age all those years ago - all started with one or two states.

                                                  believe me, i agree 100% that it should be a national standard...but i imagine those who floated the proposition thought it would be easier or more successful if they started small, set the example here, and got everyone else to follow.

                                                  back to the drawing board.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    California set its own vehicle emission standards some years back, much to the annoyance of auto companies, but as time went on other states adopted those same standards

                                                    So-- agreed, if the most populous state had passed this legislation, we might have seen other states hop on the bandwagon.

                                                    Thanks Citizens United...I'm sure the anti-labelling ads were all from PACs with names like "Farmers for Productivity" or such.

                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                      They only were able to because they implemented them before the federal government did. Another state cannot do the same now.

                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                no matter how poorly conceived or written you think the proposition was, Dow and Monsanto and allies dictated the outcome of the vote, and they're the right folks we want in control of our foods, right ? those corporations seek to eliminate or restrict competition, in this matter, foods that aren't part of their industrial production chain.

                                                when the 'conservative' supreme court decided to radically interpret Monsanto's proprietary rights on its crops (ex-monsanto counsel C.Thomas permitted to participate in the ruling), Monsanto created an enforcement division, and even farms who don't use their product that are adjacent to those that do aren't allowed to follow the millennia-old practice of saving seeds because Monsanto retains proprietary rights on anything the pollen from their crops might mix with.

                                                ecologists have a pretty good argument that diversity is healthier in the long term. when Dow makes money from agent orange getting sprayed over entire countries, or Monsanto develops powerful herbicides to suppress competing organisms, they're not considering long term consequences.

                                              3. re: JerkPork

                                                I read that the 9 largest CA papers recommended a NO vote on Prop 37. Not sure how many people were swayed by this, but it obviously didn't help.