This last week a man by the name of Kerne Erickson was campaigning in the quad area of Saddleback. Erickson was trying to not only gain student support, but also trying to bring awareness about proposition 37. GMO is an acronym for genetically modified organisms. Ever since the 1950s there has been genetic research done to alter our foods. What proposition 37 strives for is the labeling of GMOs on foods so customers can be aware of altered foods they are purchasing. Erickson first heard about GMOs while listening to a Gary Null interview of Jeffery W. Smith, who wrote the book “Seeds of Deception.” Erickson was shocked at the information and decided to take action.
GMO testing was done in the 1950s by big food companies. Monsanto, Kellogg, Coke, Pepsi, Kraft, and heinz are just a few of the major distributors of such GMOs. Due to the food companies being in charge of the testing, the results were clearly skewed in their favor. The results were manipulated to show that foods containing GMOs had no possible dangers or side effects. The food companies have even tried combining DNA strands with beings that are not plants; such as flounder fish with tomatoes. They have also been adding DNA from bacteria and viruses to vegetables like corn. Corn is not the only food GMO has appeared in. Cotton, soybeans, canola, Hawaiian papaya and some forms of squash have all seen their fair share of genetic modification. GMOs are planned to added to grass and salmon as well and even have been put in certain nutrients such as vitamin C.
Erickson’s goal is to have California state laws reformed so that in order for companies to sell GMO products, the companies themselves must label their foods. In the past an investigation was conducted on the harms of GMOs, however because this investigation was conducted by the food companies and their liaisons in the FDA and USDA the testing was done at their leisure. This resulted in delaying the research, skewed test results, and manipulation of testing procedures. Not only do GMO products not live up to their expectation, they also inflict harm onto their consumers. According to a study from the Institute for Responsible Technology young children are influenced the most. They are susceptible to allergies, problems with milk, nutritional problems, and antibiotic-resistance diseases.
Fifty countries around the world require GMO labeling. Erickson explains California is America’s last chance to enforce this law. Vermont tried a similar law in recent years, but Monsanto claimed it would take the state to court. Vermont realized it could not win in court against big business so the law was never passed. If prop 37 passes, it is believed that food companies will just give up because there are too many people in California to fight. Unlike Vermont, California won’t be so easy, if only due to a large population. This win would show Monsanto and big business that they cannot take control of our food industry as a whole. California would set the precedent and other states would be able to follow, unafraid of getting sued.
Why hasn’t this law been passed before? Why are big-time food companies able to sue state governments? One possibility is how Monsanto works with the FDA and USDA. The company takes it employees and places them at the head of such government organizations so if a law is brought up that would affect the food industry, it can simply be vetoed by the head of the association that used to work for the food companies. Big food companies are practically forcing us to eat their GMOs, by simply hiding them. It’s a don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy that keeps consumers placated and ignorant on the contents of their food.
Farmers provided with GMO seeds are subjecting consumers to possible harmful chemicals, bacteria, or viruses that can lead to illness and cause diseases. One incident can be recalled in India, where many farmers were given Monsanto’s GMO seeds, with the promise of enhanced crop growth and hardiness of their plants. Not all of the crops grew and as a result the farmers lost profits and were unable to sustain themselves. There have been over 200,000 farmer-related suicides due to the GMO deception.
If farmers in other countries could not grow anything of value from GMOs, they are not a guarantee, and they are harmful to the consumer; then doesn’t Erickson make a good point on the necessity of labeling GMO products? If prop 37 does pass on the ballot we face another challenge: having big corporate food industries, like Monsanto, suing the state. We should not be intimidated in the face of big business, we need to stand our ground. Especially since this is one of our last chance to raise this issue.