Food Expert Michael Pollan Speaks Out on Prop 37
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It's refreshing to take a break from exposing the deception of our opponents' TV and radio ads to read a thoughtful analysis of Prop 37. Best-selling author and journalist Michael Pollan provides this respite in his excellent New York Times Magazine piece.
"The [food] industry is happy to boast about genetically engineered crops in the elite precincts of the op-ed and business pages — as a technology needed to feed the world, combat climate change, solve Africa’s problems, etc. — but still would rather not mention it to the consumers who actually eat the stuff," Pollan writes.
"Presumably that silence owes to the fact that, to date, genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk. So how irrational would it be, really, to avoid them? Surely this explains why Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food so vigorously since 1992."
Indeed, the pesticide and junk food companies have already poured $35 million into TV ads opposing Prop 37 that are replete with misinformation and discredited spokespeople.
Of course, Prop. 37 won't require anyone to avoid eating GMOs, nor will it prohibit farmers and food companies from continuing to grow and sell GMO food. It simply requires a label on foods that are the product of genetic engineering, thereby empowering Californians to make their own buying decision. We think we have the right to decide what to eat and feed our families. And until we have a label, we lack the information to decide.
"Next month in California, a few million people will vote with their votes on a food issue," Pollan writes. "Already, Prop 37 has ignited precisely the kind of debate — about the risks and benefits of genetically modified food; about transparency and the consumer’s right to know — that Monsanto and its allies have managed to stifle in Washington for nearly two decades."
Indeed, where our politicians in Washington, D.C. have failed us, California voters have the chance to strike a major blow for consumer rights by voting Yes on 37.
“One can make a reasonable argument that consumers and citizens have a right to know anything they wish to know. It is they who are choosing these products and it is they who are choosing and judging their governments. So it is almost impossible to make a case that information should be withheld from consumers…. consumers’, in my view [have an] unquestioned, right to know anything they wish to know about the products they consume…. it is not my role, or Monsanto’s role, to decide these things. It is society’s role to decide those questions after appropriate debate” To the question “So you are open to labeling being introduced then?” Shapiro answered: “Yes. Of course”
“Monsanto fully supports the right of people in grocery stores to make informed choices about what they purchase”
And yet another:
“There’s a total misperception that we’re against labeling” – Gary Barton, Monsanto spokesman
So Monsanto, why are you against labeling now?
CA We are counting on you !!