Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Californians Say NO to Prop 37

We can FINALLY say that election 2012 is in the books, and we now know who our government leaders will be on the federal, state, and local levels for the next few years! While many paid particular attention to the presidential race and congressional races there were other measures on ballots as well, which included amendments and initiatives. One that caught my eye was Proposition 37 that was on the ballot in California.

Proposition 37 was put on the ballot due to the collection of petition signatures that would require manufacturers of food products to label ALL food products containing GMO ingredients (genetically modified organisms). Doesn't sound like a bad idea, right? Well, in reality Proposition 37 could and would have created a nightmare for not only food manufacturers, but also for consumers, farmers, and ranchers! Why? It would involve more regulation, which in the end would drive up the cost of food, and most likely hurt the middle class and low income earners. Also, there was talk that this could open up a legal frenzy, which would allow people to sue food manufacturers, possibly even farmers or ranchers, because of mislabeling of food products or accidentally having GMO contamination. All in all, Proposition 37 could have been bad news for both the food industry and the agriculture industry! Thankfully, Californians voted against Proposition 37 by a fairly wide margin of 54% to 46%. Many that opposed Proposition 37 stated that it was too complicated and hard to understand. Some have suggested that if it was more organized, it would of had a better chance of passing.

Supporters of Proposition 37 say they deserve the right to know where their food comes from and what is in it, and I agree with them 110%! All Americans deserve to know where their food comes from and how it is being produced. However, I don't believe regulating the food and agriculture industry is the best way to solve their questions. I think that if consumers really want to know where and who is producing their food they need to do some research. There are many farm and food organizations that have formed in the last few years to help consumers make educated decisions when deciding what to buy at the grocery store. Also, if consumers are worried about products containing GMO ingredients they can choose to buy organic brands, which are suppose to be GMO free. So consumers are already being given the choice of being able to choose GMO free products,  a person just needs to look for the "organic" signs.

Although Proposition 37 failed in California, I believe many of us in the agriculture industry need to realize that people want to know what is in their food. We also need to help consumers overcome this fear about food coming from GMOs. So far GMO food products have been proven to be safe and just as healthy as organic products! Trust me, if GMO food wasn't safe, I wouldn't eat it myself, yet I still seem to be living and as healthy as can be! So when it comes to food, yes, consumers have the right to know, but not the right to regulate based off of fears from misleading information when it comes to GMOs.

If you want to learn about where your food comes from, here is a list of groups that provide information regarding the production of food! 


  1. Good stuff Lance. Right on target. Thanks for doing the research on this. I too have been keeping an eye on this legislative effort as it would have had far-reaching ramifications for all segments of agriculture.

  2. Thanks Dewey! It was a good win for agriculture and consumers, but I feel like we will probably see this again.