The American Medical Association agrees with the USDA and wrote two months ago, "There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods."
And yet we are going to get it, and the cost, because spin doctors are calling it 'awareness'.
California's Proposition 37, also known as the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, will hurt farmers but be a 'bumper crop' for litigation attorneys. Food activists of the 'we must do something, even if it is wrong' ilk insist wholesome litigation attorneys would not do the thing litigation attorneys do. What it allows is for lawyers to sue everyone in the food chain, whether there is any harm to anyone or not. Unconvinced, in your wholesome belief that this is about 'truth', that it would never happen?
It happens now and has been happening since I was in college, because this is not the first bad law passed because people can be scared easily.
Atty. James Wheaton is President of the Board of Directors and Legal Director of the Environmental Law Foundation in Oakland and a big fan of Proposition 37 - and he should be, he helped create the language just like he did with Proposition 65 in the 1980s. Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, has been very good to his company, he has made millions in legal fees and settlements suing businesses that do not 'comply' with its vague language. So have lots of other law firms. Over 16,000 lawsuits and $500 million have been paid out by companies despite the fact that the products covered under Prop. 65 have never actually done any harm to anyone - they would be banned outright if they caused actual harm. Instead, Prop. 65 require labels that read something like "WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."
What does it cover? Lots of chemicals with scary sounding names I want nowhere near me, but am I at risk walking into my dry cleaner's? Virtually every business carries these Prop 65 warning signs and to be sued, all you have to do is have someone claim there is a higher level of one of them than the government recommends. The burden of proof is on the business to prove it can't kill anyone - sound familiar? That is the same language anti-science hippies use to instill doubt about GM foods; you can't prove GM foods will never harm anyone just like you can never prove an alien from Mars did not write this article by using mind control on me.
Entire businesses have been built filing nuisance lawsuits and you can now worry that your dentist will give you cancer. It says so, on the Prop. 65 sign in every dentist's office in the state.
What does it not cover? Toxic mold is quite harmful but that is not covered under Proposition 65. Also exempt? The state and federal government. Only businesses can be sued, the government exempts itself from the law it created to protect consumers. Exemptions are the important part and Prop. 37 has plenty of them - anyone with a sticker claiming their food is 'organic', for example, even though the organic food industry has no organic food spot testing, it labels and regulates itself because it is simply a process for marketing, and not inherently different than any other food.
What has been the benefit to citizens after 26 years of Prop 65? None, since virtually every business in California has some sort of Prop. 65 warning sign about some chemical known to be harmful to someone somewhere, people have to ignore them. Does anyone bother to read about the chemicals in that fire log they throw in the fireplace, since many places in California ban burning actual wood? No, but if they don't put on that label, they get sued.
Like Prop 37 will be, Proposition 65 passed with overwhelming support because activists simply need to scare people to succeed. Who would vote 'no' on language saying the public should "be informed about exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm." Of course people voted for that. They just didn't know (well, 37% did but their motivations are unclear) that it would be nothing but a get-rich-quick scheme for lawyers and protect no one - just like Prop. 37 will be.
The publisher did not want to use this image for the cover of my book. A shame, really. They said it was too scary. But that is what anti-science progressives want to do.
The problem is much the same; vague language. It also exempts the special interests who created it. Organic food, for example, is exempted in blanket fashion even though nothing about the organic process prohibits genetic modification, since that would be impossible to know or restrict. An organic cow, for example, can eat GMO corn its entire life and still be certified organic. GMO grass, if it is a grass-fed cow. They were also wise enough to exempt alcohol despite the fact that most alcohol is created using GM products, as are a thousand other foods - but the last thing you want to do is tell people their alcohol will get a warning label and be more expensive. That would have been a deal-killer and this is about getting something passed to create a competitive advantage, not accuracy.
Since the USDA does not consider GM food anything special, the rest of the country will still be exempt from this silliness, so what is going to happen when California food shows up elsewhere and has a warning label? People stop buying California food. The economy in California is already managed like some third-world country and anti-science policies are out to make it worse.
"The measure prohibits the use of terms such as ‘natural,’ ‘naturally made,’ ‘naturally grown,’ and ‘all natural’ in the labeling and advertising of GE foods. Given the way the measure is written, there is a possibility that these restrictions would be interpreted by the courts to apply to all processed foods regardless of whether they are genetically engineered.” Worse, writes the Legislative Analyst: "In addition, the measure specifies that consumers could sue for violation of the measure’s provisions under the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act. In order to bring such action forward, the consumer would not be required to demonstrate any specific damage from the alleged violation."
All that is required to file a lawsuit is...nothing. Just like Prop 65, lawyers can file a lawsuit and then settle for a few thousand dollars. And over what actual risk? None, the American Medical Association has no issue with GM foods, nor do groups like the American Council on Science and Health. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, President of ACSH, writes, “We hope voters in California will take note.” The World Health Organization and the National Academy of Sciences also can't find a reason to put warning labels in GM foods but lawyers can, and they have to love that this initiative is written so broadly as to impact thousands of products that have never harmed anyone.
So the intent is not to provide truth, it is to skew the market. Who will be the only companies allowed to even claim they use 'natural' ingredients when this passes? The organic food industry.
Why can an 'organic' apple be considered a 'natural' food but apple sauce that consists of nothing but regular apples can no longer be considered a 'natural' food? Because Prop 37 has nothing at all to do with consumers and everything to do with creating a marketing advantage.
Who's funding this campaign? Crackpots and companies that stand to get rich. Mercola.com Health Resources LLC, for example, sells all manner of important 'natural' and homeopathic products? Who is their notable partner site, listed along the bottom? National Vaccine
Information Center, which is an anti-vaccine advocacy group. No surprise they have common cause - and $800,000 to spend promoting this. Why so much money? Because regular apples that are turned into apple sauce are not natural but his quackery still will be.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps All-One-God-Faith Inc. is also on-board for $290,000, along with a bunch of 'organic' groups. Standing against them are scientists and grocery stores, which are the ones that will be sued.
Here's an easy table:
|For it||Against it|
|Mercola.com, selling |
'natural' cures and
|All of science|
|Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps |
|All of medicine|