As Eaters Across The Land Watch, Californians Stand On The Brink Of An Historic Precipice
On November 6 the California Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, which according to Wheaton, the Oakland attorney who filed it, is about “the fundamental right of the people of California to be fully informed about whether the food they…eat is genetically engineered and not mis-branded as natural, will be on the California ballot as proposition 37. It is against this mis-branding, as Wheaton calls it, which Californians, and by proxy the rest of us, will be striking a blow. In frank terms, should proposition 37 pass and a legal DNA test administered to a cow shows other than bovine DNA ( the additional DNA, whether animal, plant, or microbial, proving immaterial) the resulting hot dogs shall be deemed not just franks, but frankenfood, or food frankly inconceivable outside a laboratory. Moreover, the new labels will be ‘frank’ enough to say so.
Silliness aside, it would seem most applaud the GMO labeling initiative. Reuters, Zogby, and other polls suggest Californians and non-Californians alike, irrespective of political affiliation, favor the sort of labeling changes set to be mandated by proposition 37. Yet, despite this fact, nearly a third of the states have turned down a federal GE labeling initiative. Pragmatists note too that the proposition passing could result in a sizable gouge to the state’s budget. GMO advocates point to foodstuffs stuffed with nutrients, mainly due to DNA modification. Meanwhile, and perhaps most ironically, some strongly in favor of consumer’s “Right to Know” take issue with the propositions’ limitation that allows, for example, organic cows fed a genetically modified diet to be labeled natural.
Nonetheless, many are coming down firmly on the side of the “Right To Know,” including public-opinion-wielders, like The Institute for Responsible Technology, The Consumer Federation of America, The Center for Food Safety and United Farm Workers, also businesses, like Wehah Farms, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Cropp Cooperative and Mercola Health Resources. The latter, headed by a Chicago osteopath, is a major fiscal backer for the “Right to Know” Act.
Referring to those countries, which include the European Union, Taiwan and Australia, that have introduced mandatory labeling for genetically modified foodstuffs, Cathy Calfo, another bill proponent and California deputy state treasurer lately turned executive director of the CCOF, (California Certified Organic Farmers) observes that “the majority of people in the world have easy access to this information (and) Californians also deserve to be able to make informed choices about the food that they eat.”
As the day approaches, some seem to feel the state’s long held pro-consumer’s stance and environmental leanings are enough to see the proposition through to victory. Take, for example, Stacy Malkan, spokesperson for the propositions’ campaign. She asserts; ”given the broad support in the state—and across the country—for the right to know if our food is genetically engineered, we are confident California voters will make history by passing Prop 37. While many undoubtedly hope Malkan’s confidence proves justified, eaters across the land will be watching.