GMO Labeling and California Prop 37’s Defeat: What Now?

GMO Food Labeling - Prop 37

One important vote that national Election coverage wasn’t following so closely last night was California’s Proposition 37: The GMO Right to Know Act. Prop 37 might seem like it was only relevant in California, but had it passed, it would have set a precedent for GMO labeling – and transparency – here in the U.S.

Big Ag, the large biotech firms, and food corporations (including some large organic brands!) spent big bucks convincing consumers that GMO labeling was costly and unnecessary. Those scare tactics seem to have work, despite the fact that these very same companies label GMOs in dozens of other countries and somehow manage to keep prices reasonable. Curious.

If you follow us on Facebook, maybe you saw the link we shared for California’s KCET, who was posting live results on the Prop 37 vote. Whether you followed it live or checked in this morning, you know that the measure did not pass.

Big Ag may have defeated Prop 37, but the fight for GMO labeling is far from over.

GMO Labeling: What Now?

As Anna Ghosh at Food & Water Watch points out, the proposition failed by only a narrow margin, and before those deceptive ads hit the air in California, there was overwhelming support for truth in labeling. Ghosh said in a press release this morning:

“Prop 37 may not have passed, but it brought together and galvanized people from across California, the country and the world who believe deeply that people have the right to know whether their food has been genetically engineered, and this momentum will only grow. We are already organizing in over a dozen states and in the coming year will be ramping up our campaign across the country to let consumers decide and make GE labeling the law.”

Keep an eye out for those campaigns in your states, and if you can get involved, either by volunteering or making a donation, you can help push GMO labeling here in the U.S.

Mark Kastel from the Cornucopia Institute also released a statement on Prop 37’s defeat today. He reminds us that one way to ensure that our food is not genetically modified is to buy organic. He also points out that by getting this measure on the ballot, we’ve brought the debate of GMOs in our food supply to the forefront of conversation and reminds us that many organic brands that we trust are actually owned by larger food corporations who spent big to mislead consumers about the impact that Prop 37 would have on the food industry and food prices.

The Cornucopia Institute has an infographic showing which organic brands fought against Prop 37 and which ones supported GMO labeling, and Kastel encourages consumers to vote with our wallets and just say no to the brands that sought to fight transparency. Check out the graphic here:

Prop 37 Infographic

Big corporations may have squelched truth in labeling in California, but this fight is not over. We can use our power in the marketplace and support future measures calling for our basic right as consumers to know what we are eating.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Alternative Heat

21 thoughts on “GMO Labeling and California Prop 37’s Defeat: What Now?”

  1. I just find it “funny” that the vote got postponed essentially because of Sandy BUT it conveniently covered up the fact that they were going to squish this legislation and cover up any backlash with celebration parties etc.? Just sayin…

  2. What now? It’s time for consumers to understand that GMO foods have been proven safe by experts worldwide. No scare tactics can change this. Prop. 37 would have stagmatized GMO products as “Frankenfoods,” a dishonest moniker spread by people who have separate agendas for criticizing genetic engineering. So California has spoken by defeating the measure. They got a lesson in the “science” of genetic engineering from all the major newspapers in California that wrote editorials rejecting Prop. 37. The people of California have spoken loud and clear- they trust the safeness of GMOs. It’s that simple.

    1. I just don’t even know where to begin with this comment.

      There is absolutely no long-term research showing that GMOs are safe, and if your bosses are so sure that they are such a great product, why are they afraid to label them?

      Maybe GMOs wouldn’t be so “stagmatized” (sic) if the companies developing them didn’t use such dishonest tactics to not only get them approved but protect their patents. The vote was a pretty close one, so I wouldn’t say that California has spoken loud and clear about the “safeness” (sic) of GMOs either. It’s THAT simple.

    2. Lisa, your response indicates a troubling lack of both information and respect for science.

      First of all, GMO foods were DECLARED safe; they have never been proven any such thing — if you know of human safety trials that no one else in the world knows of (I mean ones where the subjects consented to participate, and had their health monitored by researchers during the study, not where industry decided to test them on us al without our consent, and no data gathered on their effects): please do share with the group!

      Also, anyone with any rudimentary knowledge of (or respect for) science understands that there’s no such thing as ‘proving GMOs are safe.’ Each new gene released into the food supply that’s never been there before, and each new resistant crop that ups the consumption of pesticide by humans eating a given food crop, must be evluated on its own merits for the data to mean anything usable at all.

      Your arguments are absurd; it’s that simple.

  3. Both Becky(sic) and Tanya: you guys are so full of yourselves. There’s no reasoning with either of you. People have been eating GMOs for a generation now with no ill effects. You can ask for clinical trials, peer reviewed studies, or whatever, but these foods have been approved by the USDA, EPA and dozens of other agencies that find them safe. You both are whiners and scared rabbits … oh we don’t know the long terms effects oh boo hoo. You’re both imbeciles and embarassments to your species. You see danger where there is none. Enough time wasted on your blatherings. (Maybe I should give up cell phones and microwave ovens because of unforeseen cancer risks). But then, what should I expect from a couple of goofy kids.

    1. I didn’t realize that caring about what I feed myself and my family makes me full of myself. Like Tanya said, yes, we’ve all been unwitting parts of a massive GMO experiment, but there has been no control group and no one actually studying how it affects our bodies. What we have seen is a dramatic increase in pesticide use, in food allergies, and in obesity.

      Just because we don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that we are imbeciles, that we are anti-science or don’t understand science, and it’s no reason to resort to name-calling.

    2. Scooby-Doo flashback moment: “WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT TOO, IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU MEDDLING KIDS!!!!” hahahahaha! ah, you guys do amuse me. :-D

      For the record, I’m 41 and a practicing health care professional.

      I think it’s hilarious that you guys try to simultaneously present yourselves as pro-science and anti-data. That is an absurd and indefensible position, in any reason-and-reality-based world view.

      I’ve said it before, and your inane and childish post makes it yet again abundantly clear: you guys make it almost TOO easy to demonstrate the foolishness of what you’re advocating… which is why despite bazillions in industry PR spending, the demand for fair and accurate labeling of GMO products is growing, not shrinking.

      The fact that you’re so pissy about it shows your flailing desperation to prevent the inevitable. The secretive and anti-science practices of your industry are unsustainable, in every sense of the term — a rising tide of US consumers want to know what they’re eating, and no amount of your hystrionics will be able to cram that genie back in the bottle.

      So, enjoy jumping up and down about it! We’re not going anywhere; and our numbers grow daily, every time anyone reads the hostile petty anti-science rambling of industry advocates, as demonstrated so perfectly in your comment on this post.

      So cheers, and happy ranting!

  4. I think it is shameful that Steve uses castic remarks to attempt to get his points across. He shouldn’t be name-calling. He’s either very immature or very frustrated. However, I don’t agree that GMOs cause obesity. Do you have some type of proof that this occurs. I always thought fatness is caused by people who over eat, eat junk food, don’t exercise or a combination of all three. You say GMOs cause this? How?

  5. Becky:

    There’s a glaring problem with the study you referenced: The animals were given a steady diet of GMO corn that led to obesity. Humans don’t eat such a steady diet. You remember the documentary of the guy who had a steady diet of McDonald’s food for a month and gained more than 25 pounds — until his doctors told him to stop or he might die. People don’t live on a steady diet of GMO corn for weeks on end. So this is a very misleading example of the effects of eating GMO foods. You have to do better than this to convince me about the dangers of GMO food.

    1. Like I said, more study is needed. More study is needed on gmos in general, which is my whole point. Your bosses pushed these organisms through approvals without adequate safety testing. Just like we can’t say for sure that gmos cause obesity, we can’t say for sure that they don’t cause obesity. Or cancer. Or organ damage.

      Your employers will have to do better if they really care about public health, and nothing short of transparent GMO labeling and actual, credible, unbiased, long-term safety research on the products you guys produce will change my mind about that.

  6. is the link to the Scientific Study that shows GMO’s are not safe.

    Here is a snippet: The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher.

    Also, Round-up Ready gmo crops do not die when sprayed with the chemical.

    A GOOD farmer or gardener knows that you grow the soil and the micro-organisms that keep it alive. When you kill everything in the soil, how can you live.

    Lisa, if you are so sure of the safety, complete your own 5 year study, eat only GMO and make sure that the land you grow on is Roundup ready. Let us know how you fare.

    As for me, when I went back to Organic food that we grew, My health improved and now my heart strength has improved to where I no longer need a heart transplant.

    Must be a coincidence then? Life is great when you take care of the Planet we live on!

    1. Chris, I’m glad you mentioned the land, because that’s a major problem with GMOs that this debate hasn’t really touched on. Roundup is terrible for soil health, as is the monocropping that GMO agriculture encourages.

  7. Chris: If GMOs and pesticides and fertilizers are all so terrible and threatening, then why are people living longer lives today than any time in the past? And I’m 68 years old and have been eating fruits and veggies with chemical residues on them and GMOs my entire life and I run three miles a day, work out at a gym and am as fit as a fiddle. Man, it’s all in the genes. If your are programmed to check out early your ticket has been punched. Don’t blame it on GMOs. Blame it on your ancestors!

    1. If it’s all in the genes, why are people living longer? I am glad to hear that you’re in such good shape! I am 34, eat an organic diet, run 9 miles a week, do weights and yoga on my off-days, and am also in great health! The members of my immediate family who don’t eat organic struggle with weight problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

      Does this prove that eating organic is what’s making the difference here? No! Because I am one person. What proves concrete health effects is long-term, unbiased, credible studies. That means not studies from Dow and Monsanto or funded by big ag and biotech firms like these.

  8. There you go again with the big, bad Monsantos and DuPonts, and Bayers, and BASFs, and Syngentas, and Dows, and all the rest of the big bad AgChem evildoers. Please, refresh your script.

    1. I wish that I could! I’m confused about which part you’re contesting: that those companies are big or that they are bad. The big part is hard to deny, since they’re huge, multinational corporations, so I’m assuming that you’re saying these companies aren’t bad actors. I disagree here, especially when it comes to the company the brought us Agent Orange, sues small farmers for things that are out of their control, and misleads the public about its products: Monsanto. This is behavior not what I’d describe as…not bad. Monsanto even has the distinction of winning Worst Company of the Year.

      I understand that it’s your job to leave these comments, but I think we are done here. I am all for open discussion, but we don’t need EDB to be a platform for Big Ag PR people like I’m seeing on this thread. You’ll have to buy more ad time, like you guys did in California, if you want to get your misleading message out from now on rather than do it here for free. I hope you’ll understand! I just have a lot on my plate right now and can’t entertain this thread anymore.

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