Prop 37: Labeling of GMOs & Oliver’s

As a company that prides itself on providing a plethora of organic, gluten free, healthy food options for its constituents, Proposition 37 hits close to home for the Oliver’s family. Prop 37 addresses people’s basic right to know what is in their food. Genetically modified foods have become commonplace in the American diet. Oliver’s fully supports the labeling of foods containing GMO’s as Prop 37 would require. This added knowledge is beneficial for those on either side of the coin. Steve Maass, Founder and Owner is on the ballot as a supporter of Prop 37

What are GMO’s? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, which is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using bioengineering techniques. Organisms that are typically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, as well as plants, fish, and mammals. GMO’s are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce useful goods other than food. Information regarding the effects of eating genetically modified foods varies widely. Whether consumers wish to ingest said items is a personal choice. Voting yes on Prop 37 allows you to make an informed decision about the foods you and your family are eating.

Regulation of genetically modified products varies throughout the world.  A study investigating voluntary labeling in South Africa found that 31% of products labeled as GMO-free actually had GM content above 1.0%. In Canada and the USA, labeling of GM food is voluntary, while in Europe all food (including processed food) or feed which contains greater than 0.9% of approved GMOs must be labeled.

Because of the relatively new ability to alter the genetics of food there is a lack of knowledge on how genetically altered foods affect the body over the long term. This alone is enough for me to want to know what is in the food I am eating. This label does not put judgment on GMO foods; it informs those thinking of purchasing an item containing a GMO of its presence.

What is Proposition 37? According to California’s official voter information guide Proposition 37, “Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural.” Provides exemptions. Fiscal Impact: Increased annual state costs from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Additional, but likely not significant, governmental costs to address violations under the measure.”

Voter information guide, pros: “Proposition 37 gives us the right to know what is in the food we eat and feed to our families. It simply requires labeling of food produced using genetic engineering, so we can choose whether to buy those products or not. We have a right to know.” Cons: “37 is a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme, full of special-interest exemptions and loopholes. Prop. 37 would: create new government bureaucracy costing taxpayers millions, authorize expensive shakedown lawsuits against farmers and small businesses, and increase family grocery bills by hundreds of dollars per year.”

As with any issue, it is important to look deeper into the information being provided. In a time where you can find contradictory information on any subject investigated, one must always look at the source of information. With this issue, the funders of each side are very telling as to who would benefit or be harmed. Financial contributors in support of Prop 37 include: Mercola Health Resources, Organic Consumers Fund, Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps, Amy’s Kitchen, Cliff Bar & Co, to name a few. Financial contributors opposing Prop 37 include: Monsanto Co., E.I. DuPont, Bayer Cropscience, PepsiCo, Nestle, Coca-Cola, General Mills, and other multinational corporations. Obviously companies who use GM foods are concerned that this labeling will affect their profits. If there is nothing wrong with GM foods, and there are actually benefits to ingesting GM foods (as claimed by major corporations that create these foods), why would they be opposed to labeling?

The basic nature of the food we intake is the issue being voted upon. In past years, ingredients and nutritional information has been required to be put on food labels. Some people look at ingredients before purchasing and some don’t; either way the option is available. This basic right should be expanded to include genetically modified foods. People have a right to know what they are eating. Proposition 37 will set a precedent in the United States of America, enabling other states to pass similar, potentially more in-depth labeling requirements. Oliver’s Market and Frates Consulting (Oliver’s Sustainability Consultant) strongly encourage you to vote YES on Prop 37 this November!

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