Right to Know Blog

No on 37: The same corporations that brought us DDT and Agent Orange

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smoke.pngThe No on 37 campaign: brought to you by the same corporations that told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe, orchestrated by the same guys who helped mislead the public about the health risks of tobacco. Now they're telling us we don't have a right to know if our food is genetically engineered.

Monsanto, the largest contributor to No on 37 at $4.2 million, was the primary manufacturer of Agent Orange, the code name for herbicides used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War. U.S. soldiers were told that it was “perfectly safe” and often wore little protective clothing when applying it, as shown in our ad. Agent Orange is now linked with various types of cancer and other diseases.

Monsanto also manufactures most of the genetically engineered seeds and also the herbicides that are designed to go with the seeds -- a combination that has created a scourge of superweeds, and has led to a new GMO scheme involving the use of more toxic pesticides like 2,4-D (which happens to be a component of Agent Orange). Here's a brief primer on Monsanto's history of decieving the public with bad science.

DuPont, the first manufacturer of DDT and the second largest funder to No on 37 with just over $4 million in contributions, also has a history of less-than-honest dealings with science, such as the alleged 20-year cover up about the health effects of a chemical used to manufacture Teflon. Now these corporations are saying: Trust us, GMOs are perfectly safe -- even though independent reviews of industry studies point out serious problems.  

In an attempt to mislead California voters about Proposition 37, the No on 37 campaign is reaching into the old bag of tricks pioneered by the tobacco industry, and using some of the very same tobacco industry operatives. Here's a look at the truth behind the lies.

MYTH: “The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that genetically engineered foods are safe.”  (Henry Miller, Hoover Institute fellow, in a No on 37 press release)

TRUTH: None of these organizations has concluded genetically engineered foods are safe. The American Medical Association and World Health Organization/United Nations have said mandatory safety studies should be required -- a standard that the U.S. fails to meet. Numerous studies in the scientific literature suggest genetic engineering is linked to allergies and other adverse effects. Despite these scientific warnings, the U.S. federal government requires no safety studies for genetically engineered foods, and no long-term human health studies have been conducted. A National Academy of Sciences report concludes that products of genetic engineering technology “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

MYTH: Proposition 37 will raise the cost of groceries by “hundreds of dollars” per year.

TRUTH: Disclosing on labels that food was produced using genetic engineering will not force food companies to raise the cost of groceries. The law gives companies 18 months to change their labels, and most companies change their labels in that time frame anyway. In a recent economic study about the impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded: “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.” 

MYTH: Proposition 37 will “ban the sale of thousands of groceries”

TRUTH: Proposition 37 does not ban genetically engineered foods; it merely requires that the words “partially produced with genetic engineering” be added to existing labels.

MYTH: Proposition 37 will result in “shakedown lawsuits.”

TRUTH: Proposition 37 will enable consumers to make informed choices about the food we’re eating and feeding our children. The lawsuits argument is a red herring. Food companies accurately label for calories, fat content and other information required by law; likewise they will abide by the requirements of Prop 37. According to a legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, the specific provisions of Proposition 37 protect against frivolous lawsuits.

MYTH: Prop. 37 would prohibit processed foods from being marketed as “natural.” 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 applies to genetically engineered foods. It requires genetically engineered foods to be labeled and prohibits them from being marketed as "natural" -- because they are not natural; they were made in a lab. If you read the initiative, you will see that it is very clear: Prop 37 applies to genetically engineered foods, not other foods. Processed foods such as canned olives could still be marketed as “natural” as long as the food is not genetically engineered.

Track the truth and help us keep the record straight! Join the Yes on 37 campaign today!

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published this page in Blog 2012-09-01 11:59:11 -0700