A matter of informed choice

Proposition 37 assures consumers the right to know what’s in their food

The problem big corporations like Monsanto and Dupont face in attempting to prevent passage of Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Act on the November ballot, is that they realize consumers don’t trust food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. It’s hard to defend secret, possibly dangerous ingredients in children’s breakfast cereal.

Our food isn’t dangerous, they say. Studies show it’s safe. And maybe it is. But those studies all have been industry sponsored, and the industry has suppressed independent long-term studies that might show whether its claims are true.

Besides, if the GMO foods are safe, what’s the harm in noting on packaging that GMOs have been used in a product? The industry is spending a fortune—it has committed more than $25 million so far, compared to $3.4 million raised by proponents—to defeat Prop. 37, and the message it’s sending with all those dollars is that it’s scared of telling consumers the truth.

We’re not naïve enough to think passage of Prop. 37 won’t have profound impacts on the food industry. But some 50 other countries require GMO labeling, and the food business hasn’t collapsed there.

Californians should be able to choose whether they want to consume GMO-treated food. It’s the food producers’ responsibility to prove to them that their food is safe and to be honest about its ingredients. Proposition 37 will codify that responsibility into law.