As the election day draws nearer in California, giant agribusiness companies like Monsanto and Dow and Con Agra are spending $1 MILLION per day in advertising to campaign against Prop 37. I don’t live in Cali, but I’ve got friends who do. According to them, all the airwaves are flooded with ads casting doubt on Prop 37. You can’t turn on the television or radio without hearing something objecting to Prop 37.
As with all such campaigns for public opinion, marketing and advertising matter much more than you might think. Despite the fact that poll after poll shows that 91% of the public would want to know if they were eating GMOs, a guaranteed majority may not be voting in favor of requiring GMO ingredients to be labeled on food!
Why is that? How can an expensive ad campaign sway people against voting for something they obviously want? Spin, deceptive arguments, and lies. That’s how. So, let’s take a look at some of the objections to Prop 37 and see what we find.
#1 — It will cost consumers a lot of money.
The anti Prop 37 campaign funded a study to see just how much this new labeling law would cost consumers. Their conclusion? A whopping $400 per year increase for a typical family!
In this economy, that kind of financial decision is just plain stupid. No wonder people are backing down from supporting Prop 37. Is it fair to mandate that kind of extra cost on all consumers just to support your desire for labeling? Particularly when concerned consumers can already opt out of buying GMO foods simply by buying certified Organic food?
Yet here’s what those ads aren’t telling you. The Vote Yes on Prop 37 campaign also funded their own study on how much this new labeling law would cost consumers. Their conclusion? A paltry 73 cents per consumer per year.
What on earth could explain the disparity?
Well, it turns out that the bulk of the $400 increase comes not from labeling changes, but from companies reformulating all their processed foods to include non GMO ingredients!
Think about it. Prop 37 does not require additional labeling. It just requires the ingredients on the already existing ingredient label specify whether the ingredients are derived from GMOs. Did food prices noticeably skyrocket by $400 per family in 1993 when food manufacturers had to begin including the amount of saturated fat on nutrition labels? Or in 2004 when food labels began requiring a warning if the product was made in the same facility where allergens such nuts, wheat or soy are processed? Or how about in 2006, when the law began requiring they change their nutrition label to include amount of trans fats?
Of course not. It is simply not that expensive to add an extra line to an already existing label.
(On a side note, isn’t it interesting that these food companies think that labeling GMOs will require them to stop using GMOs?)
#2 — It will lead to more unnecessary lawsuits.
As it stands now, when a food is mislabeled and this leads to some sort of health problem or other damages, the consumer can take legal action against the company responsible for mislabeling the food. This will not change.
Yet opponents of Prop 37 point to how Prop 65 caused lawsuit abuse to run rampant and fear that Prop 37 will do the same.
Well, guess what? Prop 65 actually had additional incentives for lawsuits written into the legislation (25% of winnings would go to the lawyers). Prop 37 has no such extra provisions. Rather, the exact same rules that protect consumers against improper labeling right now are the ones that will be used to enforce Prop 37.
How will this lead to extra lawsuit abuse? It won’t.
#3 — It’s poorly drafted. Just look at all the weird exceptions!
Good questions! Misleading, but good!
Why do I say misleading? Because they make it look like these exemptions are illogical, or have no purpose. They say these exemptions make the law poorly drafted.
On the contrary, these exemptions make the law exceptionally well drafted, as they help the law comply with federal laws and the California Constitution.
Click on the infographic below for a larger pic with explanations.
#4 — We don’t need it.
If consumers want to know they’re buying GMO-free foods, they can already buy certified Organic or GMO-free foods. These third party verifications will make sure that consumers don’t buy foods with GMO ingredients.
So, the opposition asks, why should we push this legislation forward when consumers already have a way of opting out?
But what if consumers don’t care about buying GMO-free foods yet? What if they just want to know what’s in their food?
As it stands now, there is absolutely no way to connect the dots between your health and whether or not you consume GMOs. We have no way of knowing if your baby’s reaction to that infant formula was because it contained soy, or because that soy was GMO soy. We have no way of knowing if your allergic reaction to corn tortilla chips was because you’re allergic to corn, or because those chips contained GMO corn.
Don’t you think you have a right to know what’s in your food?