With the election just around the corner, I thought it very important to address one bill on the California ballot – Proposition 37 – the bill that will determine whether or not genetically modified foods must be labeled as such.

If you are unfamiliar with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), I wrote a post about what they are and why they can be harmful to us back in 2011. To summarize very simply, genetically modifying food began when farmers were trying to find a way to keep insects from spreading disease across their crops.  As insects were increasingly able to tolerate the pesticides that were intended to keep them away, farmers decided to start genetically modifying food. These farmers also realized that by genetically modifying crops, they could grow things more quickly.

Before even addressing Prop 37, it is worth noting that there are two issues at play – one being that our food is sprayed with poison (which is now fairly common knowledge) and two, that our already sprayed food is also being genetically tampered with, taking it even further from its natural state. Prop 37 will not put an end to GMOs but it will at least give us our most basic right to know what is being done to our food by requiring companies to label whether or not there are genetically modified ingredients.

Do you know which foods you eat contain GMOs? Did you know canola and soybean oil are typically genetically modified? When was the last time you looked at a food label of something that comes in a box or a bag? There is a very good chance one or both of these genetically modified oils are in there. How about corn or corn oil? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Take a look at who is campaigning against Prop 37– the big corporations that produce gmos. Below is a pie chart that shows who is funding each campaign.  (For a better view of the charts click here). The number one financial contributor against Prop 37 is Monsanto – the nation’s leading GMO producer. It’s no wonder they don’t want us pushing this bill through…it will negatively affect their company (along with companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi)! Conversely, check out who some of the major companies funding YES – companies like Mercola, a vitamin and alternative wellness company and awesome companies like Organic Consumer’s fund and Nature’s Path.

Because producers of organic food and foods sold for immediate consumption (such as restaurant food) are exempt from labeling, opponents of 37 claim the proposition serves certain special interests. Why should organic food need labeling if it has already been through the rigorous process required to earn an “organic” label, which by definition means that there are no gmos in it? In response to the opponents’ ridiculous claim that restaurants  are “special interest” groups because they’re not required to label foods – rarely is anything labeled when we go out to eat so why would this standard be any different? I don’t go to Houston’s and order a steak knowing exactly the calorie count and ingredients used. That’s the choice I make when dining out. Until restaurants are required to label the nutrition and ingredients in their food, they should not have to label whether or not their food is genetically modified (though I am hopeful that some day all labeling will be required in restaurants should the consumer want this information).

Yes, it will cost us money if the bill passes; there will be lawsuits when companies don’t comply and food costs may go up if companies opt to produce food that isn’t genetically modified. Companies will also have to be monitored which will also cost money. Wouldn’t you rather pay a little more for your food if it means you won’t be eating genetically modified food?  GMOs have only been used in our food since the mid-nineties so the long-term effects on our health are still not known. While claims have been made that GMOs are not dangerous to our health, how can we possibly know when they haven’t been around long enough to be sure? By tampering with the natural state of our food, there may be consequences to our health and I’d like to know just what those are before I decide whether or not to consume them. In the very least, I’d like the freedom to decide whether or not to buy foods containing GMOs. Right now companies have the ability to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients as “natural”; it is dishonest and by passing Prop 37 this will no longer be allowed.

If you are a California voter, I hope you will vote yes on 37.  If you are still on the fence about it, below are some great places to read why you should consider changing your mind. It should be our right to decide when we want to eat something that has been genetically modified and this bill is a step in the right direction. Thank you!

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates