Monday, November 12, 2012

Bittman: The Food Movement Takes a Beating

What? We can legally smoke pot in three states but we cannot know the ingredients of our food?!

As he reports in his column today, Mark Bittman, former New York Times food editor, is gobsmacked at the failure of California proposition 37, a ballot measure that would require labels identifying Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on some fresh produce and processed foods, such as corn, soybeans and beet sugar, whose DNA has been altered by scientists.

On the one hand, this defeat is puzzling.

The public's right to know what's in our food seems like a no-brainer. After all, we're not asking Monsanto and the other chemical companies to stop scientifically tinkering with ingredients. We're not banning GMOs as they have in Europe and widely around the world. We're simply asking them to label ingredients so that we can choose.

On the other hand, it's not surprising.

Opponents of the measure including Monsanto, Dupont, Council for Biotechnology Information, Grocery Manufacturers Association, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Company to name but few, spent $46 million to shoot down the initiative. See the fully updated list here.

According to the Los Angeles Times, they succeeded resoundingly. Proposition 37 was defeated by 53.1% to 46.9%.

Once again, money trumps the public's desire to self regulate.

Good to remember, that while marriage equality and marijuana made great gains in 2009, they've been advocating for this for a very long time.

This may be our first GMO round-up; it won't be our last.

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