You can make a lot of arguments in favor of Prop. 37, the ballot measure that would force retailers and food producers to label food with warnings about genetic modification.
“Unfortunately, the initiative to require labeling of those ingredients is sloppily written. It contains language that, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office,could be construed by the courts to imply that processed foods could not be labeled as “natural” even if they weren’t genetically engineered. Most of the burden for ensuring that foods are properly labeled would fall not on producers but on retailers, which would have to get written statements from their suppliers verifying that there were no bioengineered ingredients — a paperwork mandate that could make it hard for mom-and-pop groceries to stay in business. Enforcement would largely occur through lawsuits brought by members of the public who suspect grocers of selling unlabeled food, a messy and potentially expensive way to bring about compliance,” according to the L.A. Times, whose editorial board is officially opposing Prop. 37.
Here are a few more reasons to vote No on Prop. 37:
Proposition 37 would ban the sale of tens of thousands of perfectly-safe, common grocery products only in California unless they are specially repackaged, relabeled or made with higher cost ingredients. Prop 37 is a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions — without providing any health or safety benefits. That’s why Prop 37 is opposed by a broad coalition of family farmers, scientists, doctors, business, labor, taxpayers and consumers.
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Biotechnology, also called genetic engineering (GE), has been used for nearly two decades to grow varieties of corn, soybeans and other crops that resist diseases and insects and require fewer pesticides. Thousands of common foods are made with ingredients from biotech crops. Prop 37 bans these perfectly safe foods only in California unless they’re specially relabeled or remade with higher cost ingredients.
Prop. 37 is full of absurd, politically motivated exemptions that make no sense. It requires special labels on soy milk, but exempts cow’s milk. Dairy products, eggs, meat and poultry are all exempt. Fruit juice requires a label, but alcohol made with some of the same GE ingredients is exempt. Food sold in a grocery store requires a label, but the same food sold in a restaurant is exempt. Food imported from China and other foreign countries are exempt if sellers simplyclaim their products are “GE free”. Unscrupulous foreign companies can game the system.
Prop 37 forces state bureaucrats to administer its complex requirements by monitoring tens of thousands of food labels at tens of thousands of grocery stores, retail outlets, farms and food companies. In fact, it sets no limit on how many millions would be spent on bureaucracy, red tape and lawsuits. It’s a blank check… paid by taxpayers.
Prop 37 was written by a trial lawyer to benefit trial lawyers. Its primary sponsor is a trial lawyer whose firm and organization have made more than $3 million suing under the terms of another proposition he helped write. Prop 37 creates a whole new class of “headhunter lawsuits,” allowing lawyers to sue family farmers and grocers without any proof of harm. It subjects farmers, grocers and food companies to huge litigation costs and lawyer payouts.
Prop 37 forces farmers and food companies to implement costly new labeling, packaging, distribution, recordkeeping and other bureaucratic operations that will cost billions of dollars to implement. Or, companies will be forced to switch to higher-priced, non-GE ingredients, like organics, in order to sell food in California. Economic studies show this would increase food costs for the average family by hundreds of dollars per year – a hidden food tax that would especially hurt seniors and low-income families who can least afford it.