Ok, so I’m not a famous celebrity or personal trainer… and I’m not a doctor or scientist either. But I am a Health “Teacher of the Year” and started teaching my students about Monsanto and GMOs back in the 90s when they first emerged, nearly 15 years ago. And more importantly, I’m simply someone who cares and I’m outspoken about things I believe in.
Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I had plastered on my podium when I was teaching which read “Speak your Mind, even if your Voice Shakes.” And I do.
Here’s the thing. I understand both sides of the abortion debate. Affirmative action too. Even the death penalty. And although I feel very strongly about where I stand on these issues, I still can see the reasoning behind the other side. I really do. But labeling our food?? I can think of SO many reasons why I have a right to know what’s in my food, but not a single reason why I shouldn’t have a right to know. Thank goodness this isn’t a debate competition, because honestly, if someone gave me the “other” side to argue, I’d flat out lose & simply walk away with my head down.
We’re not talking about a “ban” here. We’re just asking that if a food is genetically modified, that it be labeled as such. Over 60 other countries label food which is genetically modified. Even China and Russia, which Americans so often view as suppressive and anti-human rights, have the right to have their food labeled if it’s a GMO. Yes, we’re behind China and Russia on this one. It’s mind boggling.
I’m not going to write much about the technical mad scientist “frankenfood” side of GMOs, because I’m sure you’re already aware of how it basically works. Chemical companies such as Monsanto claim that through the recombination of DNA, GMO food items become bigger, grow faster, and are more resilient to bugs. But there are many, MANY studies that show that there have actually been less crop yields and more pesticide use since the introduction of GMOs. Not to mention the ugly “strong-armed” legal impact on small farmers – many have been driven out of business. I suggest watching “Food Inc.” if you get a chance. The politics behind GMOs are enough to make any caring person shudder.
There are also conflicting reports as to the health effects from GMOs. And the problem is that while we’re trying to decide if they’re “good” or “bad”, we’re releasing these genetically modified foods into nature, and we will never be able to get them back… it will never be the same again. 95% of all corn in the U.S. is already genetically modified. I fear that soon we won’t have to label it because we’ll know that ALL corn is GMO corn. Unless we grow it naturally ourselves, or buy from a small local farmer, we won’t have a choice but to eat it.
And on a personal note, as a vegan, I think I have a right to know if there are fish genes in my tomatoes. Why oh WHY would I ever want to eat a fish when I want to eat a tomato? The thought of it is sad and repulsive to me.
The point is – there are two sides to the GMO debate. Is it safe? Is it not safe? I know what I believe, but I can argue both. And I’m not paranoid of GMOs. I usually buy organic, but if I’m at a party and they’re serving GMO chips and salsa and I’m hungry, I’m going to eat some. Chips and salsa everybody! Whoohoo! However, there are NOT two sides to the right to LABEL GMOs.
People try to argue that the proposition is “poorly written” and it will cost lots of money. In fact, the deceptive NO on Prop 37 campaign tells us it will cost families over $400/year if it passes. Well, you know what? Companies write “New and Improved!”, “New Larger Size!” and “New Flavor!” all the time on their products – so why is it so hard to print “GMO”? It’s not hard; it’s easy.
As for lawsuits and regulation costs?? Well, just label it and there won’t be a problem! Yes, there’s a problem if someone lists dairy-free and there’s milk in the item. The item is generally recalled and they can face lawsuits from people who are allergic to dairy milk. Doesn’t that seem fair? It’s something we’re putting into our bodies and we’re trusting you to be truthful. Label the food properly, and nobody gets hurt. It’s 2012. We expect no less.
And you know what’s really funny? So many people are saying, “Hey, this is a job for the legislature; it shouldn’t be an initiative… it’s poorly written.” And these SAME people are the ones who are always complaining saying government is too BIG and the government can’t get anything done. Well, here ya go. The people took some “initiative” in California and did this themselves! They wrote it, they signed the petition, and here we have it! We didn’t need the government! This is the will of the people and it didn’t cost a zillion hours of high priced time from senators and members of the assembly in the capitol. WE did it. So stop telling us we need to go through the “government” first. If we want the right to know what’s in our food, we shall have that right.
So please, VOTE YES ON CA PROP 37! Thanks to Monsanto and others spending almost $50 million dollars to flood the media with misleading commercials and radio ads, the proposition is slipping in the polls, so each and every vote counts. We need you! And remember, it’s not a ban… it’s simply the right to know.
Next up? I want to know what’s in all of those funky, unlisted “natural flavors” lol. Well, I do! And I think I have a right to know that too.
Have a beautiful day everyone!