Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I'm Voting "NO" on Prop 37

Let me start by saying that I'm a foodie.  I buy ethically-made ingredients, cook in the home, try to live as sustainably as I can with my limited means.  And I'm voting NO on Prop 37.

1) I worked in the Wholesale Food Industry for almost two years, and I'm here to tell you that the term "USDA Organic" is a joke.  Oh, it was intended to convey "Groovy Food Made By Groovy People", but what it really means is "No Pesticides".  That's it.  It doesn't cover GMOs, ethical practices, or sustainable qualities. It just means "No Pesticides."  This in itself is important, but it certainly doesn't go far enough.

Prop 37 excludes all USDA Organic foods, which means that Monsanto can stop using pesticides and then they don't have to label their foods as containing GMOs.

2) There is also a rider in the law that outlaws the word, "natural", which I'm pretty sure is the actual reason the law was written.  "Natural" is the word companies use to convey... well, anything they want, really, but it has become Industry Standard.  So now thousands of small California Food Producers use it too, and if this law passes, they will have to spend $1500 PER PRODUCT to re-design and re-print their packaging.  This means that hundreds of small businesses throughout California and it's surrounding states will close.  And THAT means lots of jobless people in a state that has already has the highest unemployment in the nation.

As a current jobseeker, this is terrifying to me.

It also means that we'll loose a lot of variety in our foods, as Nabisco and Kraft become stronger because they have the resources to make the shift easily.

3) Every sticker raises the price of food $1.  Period.  Trust me, they cost the companies 25 cents, which means they cost the stores 50 cents, which means they cost you a dollar.

4) This law will necessitate people to regulate it, but doesn't raise taxes in any way.  This means that in order to pay these new people, or increase the hours of people already working, State Officials will have to cut from "Non-essential programs" like Arts in Schools, New Teachers, Health-Insurance Assistance for Families, and lots of other programs that I care about.

I believe that GMOs should be outlawed.  Prop 37 will make it even harder for real change to happen, because a) some people will think it goes far enough, and b) with a law on the books with so many loopholes, it will be difficult to pass a law that actually helps.  A law like this NEEDS to be on the books, but Prop 37 is the wrong one.  If you care about food prices, schools, and small businesses, please vote NO on Prop 37.

1 comment:

  1. Claire I too voted no on 37. I agree that the word "Natural" has no real meaning, nor does "Organic." I also agree that we should live sustainably. Your thoughts are clear up to a point, I don't understand what you have against Genetically modified foods.
    Most of the food that we eat has been modified by us in Many different ways and has been for hundreds of years. Corn, potatoes, strawberries, apples, pigs, cows, wheat, barley, rice, etc. have all been changed through selective breeding (selection of the genes through phenotype traits) these traits were usually the result of either cross breeding or mutations. Now we can do it faster and get exactly the product that we want. A single example can serve the point, a gene that produces vitamin A was added to rice to solve a vitamin difficency in some countries in Asia. As a result there are not people becoming sick due to lack of Vitamin A. Without Gene manipulation people would be suffering and dying. You plainly have a concern for people, so I am confused as to your objection.
    This is an honest comment, I know you from faire and respect you as a person and I have seen many other of my friends making statements about GM foods that simply leave me confused. Have I missed something?
    I understand that Monsanto has "patented" genes, and I think that is bogus and it just requires a person with deep pockets to challenge them in court to show that these things existed in nature and therefore can not be patented. Otherwise they are a company producing seeds that require less fertizer, less pesticide, produce a larger harvest, with a longer shelf life, so that fewer people have to go hungry.

    I honestly don't understand the opposition to GM foods.
    Eric Atkinson