Does it matter to you whether genetically engineered ingredients are in your food?
California voters are being asked this very question on Election Day when they will decide whether to pass Proposition 37, otherwise known as The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. If passed by voters, the measure would require producers to label for consumers the list of any genetically engineered ingredients in foods being sold.
“The purpose of this measure is to create and enforce the fundamental right of the people of California to be fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is genetically engineered and not misbranded as natural so that they can choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods,” the text of the proposition states.
Prop. 37 has been getting much attention as the Nov. 6 Election nears, in part because big campaign donors are throwing massive amounts of money in advertising behind the No on 37 effort.
According to the Secretary of State's public access Campaign Finance Activity, millions have been raised on both sides of the issue. More than $32,000,000 has poured into the No On 37 side, with the largest donors being those with a big bottom-line-stake in the issue, including Monsanto, E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co., Dow Agrisciences, Bayer Cropscience, BASF Plant Science, Pepsico, Nestle USA, Coca-Cola, Conagra Foods and others.
Coffers for the Yes on 37 folks pale in comparison, with just $3,900,000 donated at press time. Major contributors include Mercola Health Resources, Organic Consumers Fund and others.
Despite the statewide attention, local growers and producers don’t seem to be too concerned about Prop. 37. Patch has not spotted any aggressive campaigning for or against the measure in Southwest Riverside County, and Peggy Evans, who heads the Temecula Wine Growers Association, said the group is not taking a position on Prop. 37.
Local growers such as Eco-Farms in Temecula isn’t campaigning for or against the proposition on its website, nor is the Inland Empire CSA. Spokespeople for the organizations were not immediately available for comment.
Arguably, the research for or against genetically engineered foods is still lacking, despite the fact that many countries around the world prohibit genetically engineered products from entering the food chain in their respective nations.
A recent controversial study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen in France, has helped fuel the argument over genetically engineered foods and has put more attention on Prop. 37.
The study followed 200 rats for two years, and concluded that the rodents fed either genetically engineered corn or the herbicide Roundup had an increased risk of developing tumors, suffering organ damage and dying prematurely.
But some have said criticized the study because it was conducted by an opponent of genetically engineered crops, and the findings have been disputed by some scientists who claim the research methods were flawed.
So how will you vote on this controversial issue? Does it matter to you? Where do you stand on the research?