OPINION: PROP 37 doesn’t go far enough

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OPINION:

ELECTION 2012: Cast your vote, choose your future

This year’s ballot features 11 propositions up for the vote in California. These propositions have the potential to change the current role of government, from election laws to new taxes, and even food labeling. Before Californians vote, however, they must dig deeper than this brief voter guide to gain a true understanding of what each proposition actually proposes.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD

Proposition 37 is an initiative that calls for mandatory labeling of food and beverages containing genetically engineered materials.

Opponents say it will drive the cost of food up and subject grocers to a flood of lawsuits from consumers who feel that the stores are not in compliance. Many have given large amounts of money to defeat it, such as Monsanto’s $7 million to the “No on Prop 37” campaign, to expose the bill’s exclusions.

The bill seems great on paper, yet has some questionable exemptions.

Proposition 37 will exclude: foods certified organic or by chance produced with genetically engineered material; products from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered materials, but not been genetically engineered themselves; and also foods prepared for immediate consumption line in a restaurant and alcoholic beverages made with genetically engineered yeast.

Given the expensive price of typical organic groceries and the belief they are more nutritious, can we accept anything less than 100 percent of food to be GMO free? At least 50 other countries mandate the labeling of GMOs. We should hold ourselves to the same standards.

While the measure moves in the right direction, labeling only 99 percent of foods does not go far enough. Both sides need to compromise and modify the state’s labeling procedure of food for the good of consumers and their right to know what’s in our food.

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