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22 August 2012

Starting To Take Back Our Food Supply: California's Proposition 37

The battle to just label genetically modified material in our food is heating up. Coca Cola, Pepsico along with a host of industrial ag folks are heaping money to fight California's Proposition 37 which would require proper labeling of genetically altered products in our food stuffs. There are a lot of reasons why genetically modified crops have no business in our food, and it would be easy to write an article about why the whole idea needs to be abandoned as one of the least-wise projects ever taken to enrich people at the expense of the earth, current populations and future populations.

The point of Prop 37 is not to ban these products but simply to label them. We label the components in our mattresses, but manufacturers are off the hook for telling mothers what is in the food they give their children?

To fight the initiative, seed giant Monsanto Co, soda and snack seller PepsiCo Inc and other opponents of the labeling measure have put up $25 million already and could raise up to $50 million. Reuters article 8/6/2012

This is very wrong. Monsanto and PepsiCo have decided their profits are more important than the health of children – their products are already labeled in most of the world, the sad news is that Monsanto has infested the United States government so thoroughly it is impotent to fight the multi-national corporations with no interest in the health of Americans (or any one else for that matter). Not only is our food unlabeled, these corporations have managed to avoid any possible regulation from any American government – in the countries not so easily bought and sold, Monsanto has had a much harder time gaining any kind of foothold in the food marketplace.

Monsanto has a record of lies and half-truths that parallel their long history of reckless behavior towards our planet and all the residents thereof. There should be no mistake in considering this a company that has a single thread of altruism in it's veins.

Reuters again:
While Mother Nature does her share of genetic engineering, human interventions have specific goals, such as increasing crop yields or helping plants survive droughts or attacks from pests.

This is sheer Monsanto hype. The company, and it's competitors have absolutely no interest in things 'such as increasing crop yields or helping plants survive droughts.' Their business model is heavily invested in telling us things like that, but even the USDA's own research (and the USDA is pretty much a shill for all of biotech) concluded after a 15 year study that genetically modified crops do not hold any significant edge in crop yield. And reports from the field over this last summer show that there was no benefit in having so-called 'drought resistant' GM crops because they were engineered to survive a mild drought but their engineering was drastically short of the resistance needed to withstand this year's drought (older, open pollinated corn did survive to produce a crop for some farmers and we could have had a substantially larger harvest if more open-pollinated seeds had been plated). The truth is that there is only one goal for any multi-national corporation and that is to make money.

Some companies do that by looking for long-term solutions that will benefit the world, but that is not the case for Monsanto. ALL of their genetic engineering has been to create a larger market for their herbicide, Roundup, or creating crops with pesticides in every cell.  At that they have been very successful. None of this technology though has been tested in the real world until just recently. And that means there is certainly no long term study on these crops. Anecdotal evidence though shows some frightening complications with farm animals fed GM corn, including an inability to bear offspring. As far as I am concerned, the simple lack of a long-term study of GM foods' effect on human beings is enough for a just government, not bought and sold on the black market, to forbid these products from being sold pending proof that they are not harmful to humans and the planet. These studies are now underway: unfortunately WE, you and I and our children, are the lab rats. We will prove, in our living and dying, whether or not this technology can make food that is safe to eat day in and day out. Note, you are already eating this stuff! 

Even if you are a vegetarian eating only from a health food store, chance are you are only limiting, not eliminating, these foods from your diet. Genetically engineered food is pervasive through out our country because the first Bush administration (in a memorandum authored by Vice President Dan 'Potatoe' Quayle) certified that GM crops were the same as non-GM of the same variety. Of course, our government then went ahead allowing these 'same' crops to be patented as something totally new and different. What are we to believe?

We should believe that all this is simply a plan to make profit and externalize the costs to others. Medical costs, environmental clean up costs are just a few that come to mind – these corporations are already externalizing their research costs!

So this is why Monsanto has invested over $4 million bucks to oppose a campaign that only seeks to label the presence of their same as/extraodinarily different technology. They speak out of both sides of their mouths and ignore the honest truth incessantly – enough for me to get several more blog posts about it.

Let's be clear: vote yes for Prop 37. Prop 37 only requires a more honest accounting of what is in our food. That's all.  These corporations are aware that as goes California so goes the rest of the nation, sooner or later, that scares the hell out of them.  It should. 

Opposing Prop 37 is standing up for dishonesty and deceit. We have enough of that. We need multinational corporations to be more accountable to us. Our government has refused to do it. It is incumbent upon us to do it. We all need this law, but Mothers, you must protect your children if not yourself.

Honesty in the labeling of our food should not be optional.

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