Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well, California’s Proposition 37 has come and gone. It would have required foods containing genetically modified ingredients to bear labels stating that. I was all for it, as I’d really like to know what I’m eating.

The genetic engineering industry, including Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow, would rather we didn’t know. Their rationale is that such a label would look like a skull and crossbones to customers who aren’t yet convinced GM foods are safe. To defeat Prop 37, agribusiness and chemical conglomerates spent $46 million to blitz airwaves and mailboxes with negative advertising. They swore on bibles that GM foods aren’t dangerous. They claimed 37’s passage would add an average $400 to a family’s annual food bill. (I felt touched that these infamously greedy corporations were suddenly so concerned about my budget.) Anyway, with a million dollars of ads a day, you can probably convince voters the moon is made of cheese, so Prop 37 lost, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Besides Roundup, Monsanto sells a number of crop seeds resistant to that herbicide. Get it? Farmers can plant “Roundup-ready” soy, spray the field with Roundup, and harvest the crop absolutely weed-free. Never mind the long-term effects of Roundup and its breakdown products on the soil, the crop, and the end-users. For such info, check out these sites:

Monsanto’s goal is short-term profit, no matter what. Maybe you’ve heard that when its GM seeds have wafted into neighboring farms, Monsanto has sued those farmers for copyright infringement. If you’re a family farmer, try opposing a multinational bully’s stable of soulless attorneys.

Opposition to GM labeling is only a small step in the corporate plan to dominate American food. Even now, it’s hard to find soy or corn that isn’t genetically modified. Whether these crops truly are safe or not isn’t the current point, since like other synthetic chemicals now in our environment, we won’t be able to determine their safety for a generation or two. The point is that they aim to be our sole food supplier, and when they're effectively a monopoly, they'll charge whatever they like.

Keeping that horrifying prospect in mind, along with Prop 37’s failure, we can choose to buy food locally, minimize or omit our purchase of processed foods, and know our local farmer. What our family doesn’t grow we buy from a local co-op, which supplies itself from local farms. A strictly organic farming family we often deal with hasn’t applied for any organic label because the hoops they’d have to go through—actually designed for large-scale farms—are too extensive and troublesome. But we know these people, and seeing how they operate, we trust them. That’s a lot more than can we can say of Monsanto.

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