Pulling Back the Curtain on Prop 37

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I have spent the last 15 years of my career working to build transparency in our food supply.   If we are to become a healthier nation it is hard to imagine how we can do that if we don’t allow consumers to know what they are eating.

Unfortunately certain interests are determined to keep food shrouded in mystery so that they can profit from the use of lower cost and potentially less healthy ingredients.  It is time to pull back the curtain.

Ten years ago the issue was around “Country of Origin Labeling” and big food companies lobbied hard to prevent legislation from being enacted that would require labels to include this critical piece of information.  Fortunately for COOL advocates, American Farmers were unified in their support of this movement and were able to band together with consumers to eventually overcome the lobbying power of big food.

Tomorrow California voters will decide on the fate of Proposition 37 – a ballot initiative that would require food companies to identify the use of ingredients sourced from genetically modified plants or animals.  The proposition does not opine on the health of these ingredients, but merely requires their identification, so that consumers can be empowered to make their own decisions.

Seems pretty reasonable to me.  And fundamentally consistent with concepts of truth and freedom.

Accordingly, opponents of the bill are relying on the same specious argument they used the last time around, claiming that Prop 37 will result in significantly higher food costs – over $400 more per family.  Yet there is absolutely no substantiation for this.  And there is real experience to show that in fact, it is not the case:  Despite industry fear-mongering, when COOL was implemented there was virtually no cost to the consumer.  Because we live in a market economy, supply adjusted to meet any changes demand.  If you prefer to buy a tomato grown in Mexico, you can now do that with assurance of its origin.  The price at shelf reflects that stated quality standard and the consumer is empowered to make a knowledgeable decision.

Prop 37 is not about the safety of Genetically Modified Ingredients- it is about our rights as Americans to make informed choice.  It appears that some large corporate interests would prefer that we not have that right.

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Rob

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