Battle Over New Label for Foods in California in Dead Heat

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One of the most controversial propositions on the ballot is a dead heat.

The big question: do you need or want to know what exactly you eat and what you feed your family?

The fight over Prop 37 is so contentious and close that backers and opponents have launched a full-scale war in ads.

At the heart of the battle: what exactly goes from the field to your dinner table.

Eric Frees has been farming in Dixon since the 80’s.

“It could be very devastating to myself, my employees on the trickle down thing,” Freese said.

The measure would require foods to be labeled that have genetically modified organisms engineered to withstand chemical pesticides or herbicides.

Susan Lang supports the measure.

“We don’t know what we’re putting in our bodies. More importantly we don’t know what we’re putting in our children’s bodies. We don’t know what the effect on future generations,” Lang said.

Opponents say at face value, it sounds like a good idea.

“From my perspective it’s two groups: organics and lawyers trying to drum up money for themselves,” said Colin Carter, a professor at the UC Davis School of Agriculture.

Freese says it means he’d have to make big changes.

“Basically id have to split my operation in two and it could cause a lot of harm to what I’m doing,” Freese said.

The consumer would bear the brunt of the costs opponents say, possibly increasing grocery store bills by $400 a year.

But supporters say it comes down to a right to know.

“I think we’re all smart enough to see through deceptive advertising and at the end of the day have a right to see what’s in the food,” said Lang.

An L.A. Times polls shows support plummeted in recent weeks.

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  • Jessica Denning

    Simple, Clear, doesn't cost a dime.
    The farmers in 60 other countries where genetically engineered foods are honestly labeled are doing just fine and food costs did not increase in any of those countries.
    We have a Right To Know what we eat. We expect honesty of our farmers and grocers.
    Our health depends knowing what we are eating.
    Vote Yes on Proposition 37 to add a simple line of ink to labels. Truth in Labeling.

  • Shelia

    So, the "no" side says basically I do not have a right to know what's in the food I choose to purchase for my children? The YES side says "I have a right to know." Sounds like common-sense to me. The "no" campaign has been caught in lies already.

    There are label laws even in China I mean C'mon now. CHINA?! They have serious Human Rights issues yet allow the consumer to make an informed decision on their food. So we're NOT better than China? I feel VOTING YES ON 37 is the Common Sense thing to do for FAMILIES.

    Europe and the 41+ other countries that have GMO labeling laws have NOT seen food prices increase as a direct result from adding 6-8 words in a sentence. YES ON 37

  • Samantha

    It's obvious to me that the people behind the NO are indeed the ones guilty of the lies in those tv ads. I'm a mother and after learning how the baby formula contains GMO's and I was not aware of it because there is nothing on the label. I am voting yes and I'm telling all my friends to do the same.
    YES on 37

  • Mary Clark

    The high increase in children's allergies, colitis and iritible bowel syndrome may have a connection to the GMOs — or it may not.

  • Jordan

    The cost of GMO foods went DOWN in the UK and Europe after they labeled them. Why would Big Food and Big Pesticide companies spend $44 million campaigning to keep your grocery bills cheaper? They wouldn't! They're afraid their market share will drop, demand will go down, and their foods will become cheaper here just like they did in the other 61 countries that label GMOs. So they are full of lies, lies, lies.

    Yes on Proposition 37!

  • Carol

    It's easy to figure out what products contain GMOs just by looking at the companies that support No on Prop 37. I was amazed, even Quaker who is basically PepsiCo, Kraft, oh my there are so many. They all are hiding their products contain GMOs.

  • Tracy Graves

    People who have done their research themselves are much more likely to be for Prop 37. Prop 37 is simple, straightforward and deals with just one issue, the labeling of genetically modified food and ingredients derived from that food. California state law limits the initiative process to one issue per initiative. This will not increase food prices any more than any other label change that occurs anytime a company either changes an ingredient, or finds a new marketing angle. There is no incentive to sue, as any proceeds from any lawsuits beyond court and testing expenses incurred would go to the Department of Public Health. There is no further burden on farmers, as they already know where they get their seed, no further records are necessary. Over 50 countries, including the European Union, Russia, China and India already have labels or some sort of GMO restriction in place. This is not new to the rest of the world. Many of the same companies that are spending money today to defeat Prop 37, to defeat our Right To Know, already provide food with either labels or GMO free versions for the countries that require it. Japan has stated that they will watch our children who are growing up in this adulterated food very carefully before they decide to let it in their food supply. Wake Up California, educate yourself on this issue. We need your Yes vote on Prop 37.

  • John Doe

    The TV interview is obviously BIASED based on the length of opponent side. Why won't they interview consumer's that supports the labeling and asking why they are? Showing only interviews from those people who directly benefits from the business side, that's not fair. By labeling, the demands for GMO corn/soy byproducts will drop (just like in Europe) and hence lower the price of those GMO ingedients. Won't that reduce $400 on their grocery bills and not increase? Also no one knows where that $400 figure came from, was that made up by someone in their dream?

  • Tracy Graves

    We do not have the one million dollars a day that the opposition is spending to get out their ads. We will be out and about talking to people face to face in an effort to counteract the misinformation the agrochemical companies have spread.

  • Robert Wager

    So you want to know how your food is created in the first place. If this was what was behind the prop 37 then why is all breeding techniques not part of the prop? for example a significant number of organic products will be from ionizing radiation mutagenesis and from chemical mutagenesis. why are these breeding techniques not also on the prop. I think we know the answer to that. there is no way the organic food industry would allow the consumer to know this fact about their products.

    So if the production method is really behind the prop then why are all production methods not on the prop?

  • Robert Wagerr

    Oh really. the fact is very few GMO containing foods are availlel in Europe period. The GMO specific labels have been used to scare people away and to intimidate grocers from carrying food that contains the GMO label. GMO scare campaigns are very prolific in Europe and this prop is designed to bring the fear campaign here.

    Say why are you not asking for the labels to contain all production techniques like ionizing radiation mutagenesis and chemical mutagenesis? Could it be the organic food industry does not want the public to know that these production techniques have been used to create literally thousands of crop varieties?

    if this prop was really about right to know then ALL production methods would be on the prop.

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