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    Let's Talk Proposition 37.1 -- No Ballots Required
    By Kevin M. Folta | November 7th 2012 12:08 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Kevin M.

    I'm proud to be a public scientist at a land-grant university with great interests in public education. I completed a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology...

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    In the shadow of Proposition 37's defeat maybe we can have a real conversation.  Angry, uninformed discussion based on fear mongering from both sides detracted from a real issue-- how do we provide complete information about food in a manner consistent with science?

    Throughout the discussion scientists and some corporate officials stated repeatedly that labeling is not the problem-- Proposition 37 was the problem.  A potentially complex and expensive bureaucratic web would be created to police foodstuffs that have no inherent dangers.  That's just nuts.

    At this time I think everyone in interested in this issue should coalesce around balancing two concepts in complete fairness-- information and science.

    Can independent scientists take the initiative to persuade companies to begin voluntary labeling?  Can we ask them to label items in the ingredient lists accurately as "transgenic soy", "transgenic corn", etc?   This remedy is a great solution because it is honest, scientifically precise, provides the information labeling advocates claim to want, and is not inflammatory.  If it just showed up without fanfare nobody would even notice.  The subtle note on everything GMO would remind consumers that this transgenic crops are ubiquitous and safe.  

    Most of all, Prop37.1 would stop the nonsensical restructuring of a scientifically bankrupt proposition into something worse.  Companies will voluntarily label on their terms, not those handed down from angry mobs of science deniers that gain influence through fear.

    No new bureaucracy, no costs to consumers, no target on products, no divisive activist wedge.  It is honest and accurate.  It would engender a spirit of goodwill and understanding, something this discussion desperately needs.

    Most of all it is an opportunity for all of us to rally around transparency, science and information.  From there we can all build trust and make better decisions.

    Let's start this conversation.


    No takers yet? Alright then, I'll start. I'm in favor of transparency.

    In a more perfect world the voluntary participation by the food industry would allow all of us to see what is included in our food products. In this vastly imperfect world, a food producer should think twice before adding fuel to an already incendiary situation.

    Even if an organization has nothing to hide, there will be a presumed stigma. The foods industry has no incentive to place such a notice on their packages.