I just came back from another rally in San Francisco but this time we stood in front of Del Monte’s headquarters because Del Monte has donated almost $500,000 against your right to know what’s in your food. Just like the one on Saturday, only this time smaller, there was a really cool vibe and energy that echoed through everyone. We marched a few blocks around downtown, made a pit stop at Safeway (supporter of No on 37, carries hundreds of foods that contain GE ingredients), then made our way back to the headquarters. When we got back to our starting point a man that was standing diagonally from us yelled out a bunch of things about Prop 37 and it being a fraud then proceeded to rip apart one of our flyers and walk away.
It’s unfortunate to see people believe everything they hear on TV. It’s also unfortunate we didn’t get the chance to speak to that man to see where he was coming from or if we could clarify a few things. So, I felt compelled to dedicate a post all about Monsanto’s TV ads that are bombarding the networks with their lies. Below are the two most common TV ads and what the ad fails to tell you!
Farmer Ad: There is a TV ad out right now stating that labeling will cost farmers more and the people who can’t afford to pay will not be able to pay. First, I would like to point out who Ted Sheeley is. Ted Sheely is not a small family farmer that you would find at your local farmer’s market. Ted Sheely has special interests in the biotech community and I’m sure has Monsanto’s money in his back pocket. Ted Sheely does not give two squats about the small family farmers who are actually farming the right way. I would like to see them have an ad that features a non-biased farmer. That’s when we’ll get more accurate information.
What this ad fails to tell you: Monsanto has sued hundreds of small family farmers (like the ones you will find at your local farmer’s market) and have put them out of business because of cross contamination. Say you have one farmer who uses GMO seeds and the farmer next door does not use GMO seeds. If (and when) the plants cross pollinate (that’s what plants do) and the farmer who uses the non-GM variety is downwind from the GM variety, the GM variety can potentially contaminate the non-GM variety. The issue here is that Monsanto owns all the patent rights to their seeds and can sue the farmer (non-GM). Because Monsanto is a multi-million dollar company they can put that small farmer out of business for “stealing” their seeds.
Arbitrary Exemptions Ad: “Dog food is labeled but not the meat you eat.” This TV ad is also very popular as I’ve seen it multiple times in a day (and I hardly ever watch TV). Henry Miller states the proposition is “ill-conceived” and has “arbitrary exemptions.” First, let’s point out that this particular TV ad got yanked from the air because Henry Miller who was identified as a Stanford professor turns out to not be a Stanford professor at all. Yep, you heard that right ladies and gentlemen, Henry Miller is actually a “fellow researcher at the Hoover Institute.” I don’t know about you but to me, it is just one more thing that plays on the fact that they are doing whatever they can get away with (aka lying) therefore showing a lack of credibility. I mean, if the company who funded this ad also lied about the safety of agent orange, DDT and PCB’s, well, do I need to say anything else?
What this ad fails to tell you: While there are exemptions to the proposition like meat and restaurants, there is a very good reason as to why they have been exempted. I covered this in my last post but will summarize here. When an animal eats food that has been genetically modified it is considered a second generation GMO. This animal is different from an animal that has been genetically engineered itself. While many can argue when an animal eats GM food that we are essentially eating GM food (and I agree, completely) it is technically not considered a genetically modified organism. So an animal that has eaten GM food (second generation GMO) would be a secondary issue in the proposition. If the writers of Proposition 37 included mandatory labels on meat, the proposition would be denied immediately. You see the California Constitution in Article 2, section 8 (d) states: An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect.
As for restaurants, it would be too costly if restaurant owners had to label all their foods. Consumers must assume (just like they do now) if the food doesn’t read organic before the item, it most likely is made with GM ingredients.
Unfortunately, this issue is not as easy as we would like and we need to have a starting point. The strategy when formulating this proposition was to get our foot in the door. If you look at the numbers, we have millions of dollars fighting this fundamental right that each and every person has. This is why we need to take baby steps. We ultimately can not count on the FDA to protect us because there has been a long time revolving door of Monsanto employees and the FDA.
And really, if labeling food was as complicated as all these TV ads make it sound, then I’m pretty confident 50 countries around the world would not have their foods labeled (China, Russia, all of Europe, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia are included).
Might I remind you, the reason this proposition is even on the ballot is because one million California residents demanded it to be on the ballot by petitioning. Proposition 37 is not backed by big money making corporations (i.e., Monsanto, Kelloggs, DuPont, General Mills). Proposition 37 is backed by mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, young adults who do not have money, greed or politics in mind. They just want their fundamental right which allows them to know what is in the food they are eating and feeding to their loved ones.
So next time someone tells you Proposition 37 is a fraud, politely ask them why they believe so and then explain to them what you’ve learned here.
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul
This post is part of: Real Food Wednesday