Below is an excerpt of an impassioned letter from Ronnie Cummins representing the Organic Consumers Association reminding California voters of the far-reaching implications of prop 37. If this passes in November, it will be a much-heralded and historic win for consumers nationwide. If it fails, then big business wins again and the US will be ignoring what many other countries are questioning. The three links directly following contain either a list of other major countries and how they are handling GMO in their food supply or comparisons to how the US and Europe handle GMO. The issue is definitely worldwide and gaining in its scope.
Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association partial letter:
The partial letter below is taken directly from the Organic Consumers Association newsletter that I receive via email. Elsewhere in my blog I have placed a link to their excellent website but here it is again:
Dear Organic Consumer,
We are entering the home stretch of the most important food policy fight in your lifetime. Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, is a November 6 grassroots-powered, citizens’ ballot initiative that has huge implications for the future of food in this country.
This is a battle that pits the people – you, me, moms, dads, rich, poor, young, old – against fat-cat pesticide, biotech, and junk-food corporations who for years have shamelessly manipulated science, the political system, and the truth in order to rack up obscene profits at the expense of your health and safety.
This is a battle that has nothing to do with partisan politics. National polls show that 91% of Americans – republicans, democrats, independents, libertarians – want GMOs labeled.
This is a battle that began on the ground in California and has caught fire, garnering national and international media attention, drawing donors and volunteers from all 50 states.
This is a battle that we must win . . . if we are ever going to have what citizens in nearly 50 other countries already have: the basic right to know if our food contains pesticide-injected, bacteria and virus-laced genetically modified ingredients. Ingredients that, according to a growing number of scientists, are making us sick with everything from allergies and obesity, to cancer and organ failure.
In a few short weeks, early voting begins in California. By Nov. 6, this battle will have been won or lost.
If you eat food, this is your fight. If you haven’t joined in, now is the time.
You take the risks, Monsanto gets the benefits
Would you knowingly feed your family foods that are linked to cancer and organ failure? Absolutely not. Monsanto knows this. Monsanto knows that the FDA has given it a free ride for more than 15 years, allowing its bioengineers to concoct laboratory experiments using you as their lab rat. Between 75% – 80% of all non-organic processed foods contain GMOs. Unless those foods are labeled, you are most likely a human lab rat in a vast genetic experiment.
You take all the risks, Monsanto gets all the benefits.
Scientists point to a growing body of evidence to support claims that GMOs are linked to a host of health concerns. Why didn’t we know this 15 years ago? Because without labels, it’s impossible to trace specific health concerns to their food origins. The FDA conducts no pre-market safety testing on GMO foods, instead relying on Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow chemical to vouch for their safety.
Yes, believe it or not, the FDA allows the same companies that lied to us about the safety of DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs and bovine growth hormone to conduct their own dubious safety testing on GMOs, and then use those tests as ‘proof’ that GMOs are safe.
If genetically modified foods are so safe, why is Big Ag afraid to label them? If genetically engineered foods are safe, why are biotech companies, food manufacturers, and supermarket chains spending millions of dollars to deny you your right to know?
Prop 37 is our best hope – maybe our only chance
It’s not a stretch to say that if we lose the GMO labeling battle in California, we may never get another chance to force Big Biotech and Big Food to come clean about what they are doing to the food that you and I feed to our families. While some argue that we should be focused on a national GMO labeling law, those in the know understand that without this win in California, we don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of passing a nationwide GMO labeling law.
In the past two years alone, more than 19 states have attempted to pass GMO labeling legislation. Yet despite overwhelming bipartisan public support, every one of those efforts has failed. Why? Because powerful agribusiness lobbyists have corrupted the political process.
A federal bill? Forget it. More than a million people signed a petition to the FDA demanding it act on GMO labeling – more than any other FDA petition in history – yet your guys and gals in Washington have failed to act. As long as former Monsanto guns like Tom Vilsack and Michael Taylor hold key government positions and powerful influence, there will be no federal GMO labeling law.
As California goes, so goes the nation
Major food companies have already conceded that if we pass Prop 37 in California, we may as well pass a national GMO labeling law. If this law passes, food manufacturers will take GMOs out of their products, rather than risk losing sales by slapping a label proclaiming “This product contains GMOs” on every package. They admit that from a production standpoint, it makes no sense to reformulate only the products they sell in California, the eighth largest economy in the world – they’ll be forced to reformulate all of their products for all US markets.
If this law passes, we’ll finally see GMOs disappear from products in all 50 states, just as they’ve disappeared from foods in nearly 50 other countries that already have mandatory GMO labeling laws.
The opposition knows what’s at stake. That’s why they’ve amassed a war chest of more than $32 million – so far – to kill this initiative. Monsanto alone has kicked in $7.2 million. DuPont and its subsidiaries have dumped in $4.2 million, Dow and Bayer CropScience $2 million each, and the Kings of Junk Food, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, have contributed a combined $2.8 million. The biotech and junk food processing industries are running scared because, finally, GMO labeling is going to be decided by the people – not politicians or industry lobbyists.
The battle for GMO labeling relies on you
The Organic Consumers Association and our allied lobbying organization, the Organic Consumers Fund, have been a key player in Prop 37 from the very beginning, spending countless hours, serving on the campaign’s steering committee, and raising funds. OCF has pledged $1 million – money we’ve raised from people like you who are outraged that our elected officials have ignored pleas from the overwhelming majority of their constituents to require mandatory labeling of GMOs.
Today, I ask for your continued support in this monumental David-versus-Goliath fight for what ought to be a guaranteed, basic right – a right we’ve been denied for far too long. The more money the opposition throws at this fight, the more obvious it is that for the first time ever, they believe their science experiments and huge profits – at your expense – may be at risk.
The polls show us leading in California, despite being behind in terms of raising money. But money alone won’t win this battle. It will take a herculean effort by tens of thousands of volunteers to overcome the opposition’s massive advertising campaign, a campaign of lies meant to frighten and intimidate voters into thinking a few extra words on a label will somehow be more dangerous than being a lab rat for Monsanto.