We’ve told you about Proposition 37, a ballot measure in California that would require labels on all foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Now the group “No on 37” has sent us a press release detailing their side of the argument.
The organization No on 37 has released a statement urging voters to reject Proposition 37. That California ballot initiative would require food manufacturers to label all products that contain genetically modified (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) foods. Opponents of Prop 37 include Monsanto, Dupont, Dow Chemical, and major food manufacturers such as Nestle, General Mills, and Con Agra.
The press release states, “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.”
The organization believes that Prop 37 will allow state governments, local governments, and private parties to sue companies that violate the label requirement. Plaintiffs can sue without showing specific damage. They also state that the AMA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the World Health Organization have stated there is no scientific evidence that GMO products carry any risk to human health. (The AMA’s position is that GMO foods do not need labels, but that there should be “mandatory FDA premarket safety assessments of GM foods as a preventive measure to ensure the health of the public.”)
In 2011, 88% of all corn and 94% of all soybeans grown in the U.S. were grown with GE seeds. A minimum of 40% of foods sold in California grocery stores contain GMO ingredients. And while labeling requirements for GMO foods exist in other countries, there is a “tolerance threshold” for accidental presence of genetically modified foods there. There is a zero-tolerance policy in Prop 37. The group thinks that retailers would be fearful of selling anything as “non-modified” because they may be sued for “accidental modification.”