The election has finally come to a close and most people are sighing a breath of relief. Whether your candidate of choice was Obama or Romney, seeing the end of this campaign season seemed to be welcomed by many. Of course, besides choosing a President, there were many other choices voters had to consider at the polls. There were a lot of propositions on the ballots in each state and Prop 37 in California drew a lot of attention, not just within the state, but nationally. The hot button issue of labeling GMO foods was on a lot of people’s minds. This measure was discussed here on Frugivore recently and highlighted how this proposition has national implications.
I am very passionate about food justice, and I’m not shy about stating that I voted in favor of this proposition. Needless to say, I was very disappointed or rather incensed when the proposition failed. Then adding insult to further injury, I came across this article about the California NAACP voting in opposition to the proposition as well. In the article, a few key points are pointed out highlighting why this information is so jarring. The first thing to understand is that opposition to Prop 37 comes largely from the biochemical companies Monsanto and Dupont. It’s important to note here that Monsanto is a leading producer of genetically engineered seed.
The article points out that it is well documented that people of color are disproportionately more likely to suffer health issues such as obesity and type 2 diabetes and that these companies opposing the proposition are largely to blame for these epidemics. So why would the California NAACP be in opposition to this measure? They chose to use the same tired line that was being fed to us by the relentless ads we were inundated with here in California. The story is – “it would increase the grocery bills of the average California family by hundreds of dollars a year.” However, tenured Emory University of Law professor, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D. counters that by stating, “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of labeling required.” This comes from studies showing that 61 other countries label GE foods and in places such as Europe there were no changes in costs due to the labeling of foods. Studies have been conducted linking serious health issues to eating GMO foods. A recent study that was conducted has linked GE corn to tumors, organ damage and early death.
So, after reading this information and doing my own research, my question is why are companies such as Monsanto and Dupont so invested in keeping information hidden? Why did they create blatant lies in order to confuse voters? They were major funders in the “No on 37” campaign, outspending supporters a whopping 10 to 1! If there is nothing to hide then why be so opposed to letting consumers know what’s in their food? When you have other countries refusing GMO foods, referring to them as “FrankenFoods,” you would think more people would take notice. You would also think that the National Advancement of Colored People would consider that even if there was a chance that grocery bills could go up, what would be worse – paying a few more cents at the register or a few more thousands in medical bills? We must look at the big picture. We might also get more insight by looking into the pockets of the California NAACP and discover the real reason behind their opposition and jumping on Big Ag’s bandwagon.
Communities of color are already at a disadvantage when it comes to the quality of food in their supermarkets. Everyone deserves to have the highest quality of food available and to know if their food has been genetically altered and the implications it carries. While I’m fully aware that if food was labeled it still may not make a difference to some, it would at least it would be plain what choice they are then consciously making.
The election may be over but the fight is not and you can still become involved if you are inclined to do so. I highly encourage everyone to start by doing their homework and sharing information with others. The good thing that did come out of Prop 37 being on the ballot was awareness on a broader scale. The goal now is to not become complacent and continue making noise and boycotting companies that were opposed to the measure. Yes, I know money talks and that is likely why Prop 37 failed, but we can collectively talk louder with our actions and continue pushing for change and labels for our food!
Now, what are your thoughts? Do you think it’s important to know if your food has been genetically altered? How do you feel about the NAACP opposing the measure? Please share in the comments!