Proposition 37, Labeling Lemon

Proposition 37 is plain and simply a bad law….for multiple reasons.

  1. Prop 37 would require labeling for non-harmful ingredients.
  2. Prop 37 does not require ALL products to labeled.
  3. Prop 37 is a California-only regulation on food.
  4. Prop 37 provides loopholes for imports to evade the labeling requirement.
  5. Prop 37 would increase food costs in California by over $400 per year.
  6. Prop 37 would create additional bureaucracy and cost tax payers millions.
  7. Prop 37 would open the door to frivolous lawsuits.
  8. Any proposed regulation, that will have such overreaching impact, should go through legislative and economic analysis, not through the proposition venue.

I fully support the consumer’s right to know if anything harmful is in a product that they might buy. If a product is harmful, it should be labeled, but directed from the FDA, not the state.

Labels informing consumers of the ingredients should be voluntary. There is already an organic label to identify non-GE products.

If there is strong support to identify ingredients in non-organic foods, I would encourage someone to take advantage and create a niche label. It would seem to me, to be a wonderful opportunity.

I support a NO vote on Proposition 37.

  1. October 10, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I have to disagree with this analysis. Disclosure should always be complete and let the consumer decide which information is important to them. By trying to filter what things are harmful or not makes no sense. The cigarette companies used to run commercials saying smoking is good for you, obviously we all know now that it isn’t. If it is a food product all ingredients should be disclosed. A rep for the food chemical companies stated if they labeled GMOs it would be like putting a skull and crossbones on the package. Well I think that answers why they don’t want to disclose GMOs. Fact is people would stop buying them because they don’t want them. Not disclosing because of a desire not to lose sales is unethical.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      October 10, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on proposition 37. I agree that complete disclosure of ‘harmful’ substances in food should occur. I also believe that if customers want complete disclosure on food for ‘non-harmful’ ingredients, it should be voluntary, not regulated. This proposition, if read in detail, is not all-inclusive, picks and chooses ‘winners and losers,’ puts California growers and consumers at an unfair market disadvantage and allows imported food a ‘free pass.’ I’m sorry, but California growers and customers are already living at a disadvantage to the rest of the country. We do not need another regulation that is ‘clear as mud.’ If customers truly want disclosure of all ingredients, let it be legislated at the Federal level, so it applies uniformly to all and is properly vetted.

      An additional item that I find inappropriate, is not allowing food that has been pasteurized, juiced, dried, etc to be labeled as ‘natural.’ Sorry, but this doesn’t make sense to me.

      Perhaps we shall agree to disagree, but I still appreciate you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. april
    October 15, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Prop 37 would require labeling for non-harmful ingredients. SAYS WHO THE FOOD COMPANY AND THEIR PAID SCIENTIST?
    Prop 37 does not require ALL products to labeled. SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO START WITH WHAT WE CAN GET, THAT’S NO REASON TO REJECT IT
    Prop 37 is a California-only regulation on food. AH YES
    Prop 37 provides loopholes for imports to evade the labeling requirement. LOOK INTO THEM, AND STILL WHY SAY NO TO A GOOD THING EVEN IF IT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT ITS A GATEWAY
    Prop 37 would increase food costs in California by over $400 per year. NO IT WOULD NOT AND IF IT GOES UP ITS A SCAM TO SCARE CONSUMERS….. ITS A LABEL, DID PIZZA HUT OR STARBUCKS RISE THEIR PRICES WHEN THEY HAD TO PRINT THEIR NUTRITIONAL FACTS A FEW MONTHS BACK…. IF YOU DON’T LABEL SOMEONE COULD SUE YES, AND THEN THEY MIGHT PASS ON THAT COST TO CONSUMERS, IS THAT SUPPOSED TO SCARE US FROM PASSING THIS LAW? ACTING LIKE SOMEONE IS GOING TO SUE THEIR LOCAL FARMERS MARKET IS A SCARE TACIT.
    Prop 37 would create additional bureaucracy and cost tax payers millions. SAME AS ABOVE
    Prop 37 would open the door to frivolous lawsuits. OH COME ON, IF THAT HAPPENS BECAUSE SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS DO SOMETHING STUPID, IT JUST MEANS WE REVISE THE LAW NOT DUMP IT
    Any proposed regulation, that will have such overreaching impact, should go through legislative and economic analysis, not through the proposition venue. WHO PAID FOR THIS OPINION ANYHOW?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      October 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      April,

      I can appreciate your passion on this issue. Realizing we may end up agreeing to disagree, I will try to address each of your points.

      1. Genetically engineered plants that are currently in the market for consumption by people and animals have been tested and are safe to consume.

      2. I am skeptical of any proposition that chooses to label an ingredient in one form, but not in other forms.

      3. I completely support State Rights and believe that state’s should have the right to pass regulations to protect its people. However, this is protecting us from nothing and while passing restrictions and increasing costs on California agriculture and consumers, does not apply to other states or countries. It gives others a competitive market advantage, which should not occur in our system. (In my opinion)I liken it to the federal government choosing which companies to “prop up” or issue grants to in the energy sector…I believe that is wrong.

      4. See #3

      5. Several professors from UC Davis analyzed Proposition and published their thoughts on how it will increase costs: 37http://giannini.ucop.edu/media/are-update/files/articles/V15N6_2.pdf. This is more than simply putting a label on a package. It will require an abundance of time and energy to track and separate, which in the current food system, would be a major cost.

      6. Sorry, but I’m from the group of people that believe government is already too big and this proposition would create yet another state agency.

      7. I’m sure you are aware, but this proposition is not solely for Farmer’s Market’s. This impacts all of agriculture in California. It creates avenues for lawsuits to be filed, that do not currently exist. Once again, frivolous lawsuits…I’m not a fan.

      8 & 9 See #6 &#7

      Finally, as to who paid for this opinion…I guess I did…I invested the time to read the proposition and write the brief synopsis.

      I appreciate your taking the time the comment, but I continue to support a NO vote on Proposition 37.

      Chris McDonald had a great quote on this proposition: “In a free society, you don’t pass laws requiring other people to change their behavior unless their current behavior is doing some harm or violating some right. There is still no evidence that GM foods do any harm, and requiring their labelling does not effectively protect anyone’s right to anything.”

  3. april
    October 15, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    non harmful…… its just a sign t post gmos, (which are not currently subject to FDA test.. we just go off the food companies telling us they are safe, no one is changing that with this law… just a label) some people just want to see a label that’s lets them know if there food has gmos in it… that simple.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      October 15, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Once again, thank you for commenting. As I mentioned in the post, people can currently buy organic and know that it is GE free. While I support the customers right to know, I believe that labeling on non-harmful ingredients should be voluntary, not regulated. There is opportunity here for people to create another niche market and label.

  4. October 17, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    A message from Europe. In 1995 two of our largest supermarket chains sold canned tomatoes that were proudly labelled ‘Made with Genetically Engineered Tomatoes.’ They were cheaper than the other tomatoes so they sold well. This was because they were part of a failed Calgene tomato project. So when the call went out for labelling nobody objected because we were doing it already. Then Monsanto bought full page newspaper ads to promote genetically engineered food. Their follow up research showed that the more people knew about GMOs, the less they liked them. So they stopped advertising and kept quiet in the US. There is no question that organic food benefitted from this in the EU and if Proposition 37 is defeated in the US a lot of Californians and other Americans, their awareness of GMOs now greatly enhanced, will switch to organic. So, counterintuitively, organic producers and processors might benefit more from losing on Prop 37 than seeing it passed. But this is about consumers, the right to know and also about the quality of the research that says GMOs are safe. The Seralini study made the front cover of the grocery trade magazine in Britain, with pictures of rats with tumours the size of ping pong balls. This has hardened supermarket attitudes against GM and consumer attitudes now are 95% opposed.
    The Seralini study is still being debated, but the raw data is being released and there are genuine concerns about intergenerational health risks from consuming GM food that need to be independently confirmed. It’s not enough to rely on short term research from the companies that benefit from marketing these products. We’ve seen this with drugs and the same principles must apply to food

  5. Kone Zi
    November 6, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    It took decades for the tabacco companies to admit their product is harmful. People did not realize that excessive x-ray would damage cells when it was first discovered. Asbestos was not found to cause cancer until nearly a century later. The point is, unless you conduct a long-term and large scale study on people who consume mostly genetically modified food, you cannot say it is safe. It is possible that one day they will find some long-term problems associated with genetically modified food. Since food is something people have to eat every day, they have a right to know what they are eating, then they can make their free choice. Just as when I pick my car, I like to know the crash test rating. If I choose a poorly made car built using low-grade steel frame, that’s my informed choice.

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