Newspapers and journalists have given a lot of coverage to Proposition 37, the oddly named California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act. Laurel Rosenhall, writing in the Sacramento Bee today (whose editorial board recommends a 'no' vote on it) oddly mentions the big corporations funding public relations campaigns against it but then seems to pit them against lovely sounding small names like "Amy's Kitchen" and "Nature's Path", without ever mentioning that the biggest reason this is on the ballot at all is because out-of-state crackpots who have been penalized time and again by the FDA for making ridiculous claims - like Mercola, which sells suspect supplements they claim can prevent or cure cancer and who also claims vaccines are causing autism. And that magic soap company isn't included on the 'pro' side either.
What Rosenhall does get right is that the cultural divide is much greater than the scientific one. A retired university administrator on a government pension doesn't care about food cost, Rosenhall notes - retired government employees are part of the 1% who can afford to pay more - but a former veteran with PTSD living on public assistance wants to eat without being part of an irrational anti-science crusade that changes public health not in the least, makes food more expensive, and lines the pockets of lawyers and organic food companies which have made sure they are exempt. This law would not help poor people in the least but it would sure hurt them. Perhaps you think $400 a year is nothing. If so, you may be on a government pension but you haven't ever been poor.
With their irrational verbage in drafting the referendum, 'organic' food companies have created an odd enemy - natural food companies that haven't yet been extorted into buying an organic sticker. They are saying natural food needs labels too.
Olive oil that is just olives, for example, is completely natural. But because olives are pressed to make oil, it cannot be labeled 'natural' under the law. Nor can any wheat that has been milled - which is 100% of wheat, and none of it is genetically modified - it is also penalized under this law. And so 1,900 natural food companies are being forced to lobby against a referendum they would basically agree with were it not written so stupidly. The Natural Products Association, “over 1,900 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products,” is against Prop 37.
Supporting this fiasco would be cutting their own throats. They discovered that the 'organic' food companies don't care about the public or food, they care about achieving a competitive advantage through legislative fiat they could not gain in the marketplace, and that includes natural foods:
“we cannot support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. NPA is very concerned with the enforcement provision as well as the limited definition of natural included in the language. Proposition 37 places every supplier, manufacturer, and retailer of food products at risk of unreasonable and frivolous litigation."
Which is exactly the intent of Prop 37.
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