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Prop. 37: Will California be first state to label genetically modified food?

Prop. 37: Will California be first state to label genetically modified food?

Christian Science Monitor
By Daniel B. Wood | 08:25 am

Another multimillion-dollar fight over a ballot initiative — with big implications for the country — is brewing here in California. The initiative, which is on the ballot this November, has a mouthful of a name: the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.”

If Proposition 37 passes, California will become the first state in the nation to require that food manufacturers appropriately label all food — raw and processed — that contain ingredients made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). That term refers to scientific procedures that have altered the genetic material in various organisms.

Proponents say that consumers have a right to know what kinds of food they are buying and eating, while opponents say it would produce a system too burdensome on food sellers and distributors and needlessly costly to consumers.

Read more: http://www.minnpost.com/christian-science-monitor/2012/08/pr...

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Okay, and I will simply ask

Okay, and I will simply ask you one question:

Don't people have a right to know if they're putting poison (GMO foods) in their body?

YES ON 37

(This was a reply to the anti-GMO labeling comment below, not sure why it posted it as a reply to the post itself).

I'll probably get jumped on for this, but I have no problem with there being regulation on the state level as far as what you can and can't sell people for human consumption.

No sympathy for Monsanto.

It strikes me as odd

... that a pro-liberty website has a large contingent pushing for more government regulation wrt food labeling.

I am against any regulation which "requires" food manufacturers to label food. These companies should be labeling their food based on the direct demands of the people, not via government edict.

Back in the 90s when the government was successfully lobbied to pass legislation "requiring" food manufacturers to put Nutrition Information labels on all food, it was hailed as the perfect solution to the trend of both worsening health and increased obesity being seen in society at the time. With correct labeling, it was supposed, people would finally know what they were eating, and choose to eat right. Fast forward 20 years and we are even worse off than we used to be regarding our health as a nation, with a vastly more expensive and powerful FDA adding insult to injury.

Those who believe GMO labeling will change the landscape of food consumption in America are those who already avoid GMO foods, or at least try to do so. The sad truth is, most people just won't care, as history as proven time and time again. In fact, pushing for GMO labeling makes one no different from those in the old temperance movement, trying to get government to regulate what they believe is good for us all.

Conclusion: Allowing manufacturers to label their products as "GMO-free" (which I don't think is allowed right now, correct me if I'm wrong), is a good thing. Requiring manufacturers to label their products if they contain GMO is just giving more regulatory powers to an already bloated arm of government.

What will you think the first time the FDA uses these new powers to shut down a small business because someone "tipped off" the government they were using GMO crops without proper labelling? "Oh, months later we found out we were wrong and you weren't using GMO crops. Sorry about that, and your business we ruined." If you think stuff like that won't happen, you're fooling yourselves.

Say no to GMO labelling. Say yes to liberty.

But...

Isn't this "issue" being handled at the State level and not the Federal level?

If so, isn't that exactly the way a Republic is supposed to work?

I'm not bad-mouthing you, I just really thought this is being handled correctly by being a State issue/legislation.

Bad logic

Because Romneycare was a state thing, does that make it good?

Over-regulation of any kind is interference with the free-market, whether it's done by states or federally.

Apples and Oranges...

RomneyCare was a mandate. This is a vote by the people...

of what moral significance is

of what moral significance is a "vote by the people", especially when that vote results in an infringement on property rights?

I don't understand

And I am not trying to be a wise-guy here... But how is some manufacturing company's product your property?

the right to freely contract

the right to freely contract is a derivitive of the right to property.

(technically, ALL rights are derivitive of the right to property)

And if the food company owns the food, and I own the money i wish to use to buy the food, to say that we can't agree amongst ourselves on what terms we choose to exchange his for for my money is an infringement on our respective rights. Why does what the majoirty of bystanders think should be the terms of the exchange have any bearing on what we each agree to?

It's like if you say "hey here's a box with stuff in it. I won't even tell you what stuff it is. but if you give me $5 my stuff in this box becomes your stuff"

and I say: "ok, here's my $5 I will buy your stuff"

What right does any third party have to say that we can't make that trade?

The problem is

The FDA has made it ILLEGAL for anyone to label their foods as being GMO free or as containing GMO. Therefore it would be impossible for the free market to correct this in the current state.

I admit this is difficult for me as both someone concerned about GMO's and a libertarian. To me the CA Ballot initiative is an act of nullification against the FDA's ban on labeling.

I wrote about this several months ago.

http://lionsofliberty.com/2012/03/20/will-ca-nullify-the-fda...

Though admittedly I am still a bit torn on the issue. I don't think state regulations are the answer, but what is the alternative when the FDA has overstepped its bounds like this?

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I've seen gmo free foods

I've seen gmo free foods

"Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear." - Benjamin Franklin

GreyWyvern's argument is correct and worth rereading

Marc, I appreciate you admit you're conflicted on this issue, and I'm happy you're conflicted because I have this feeling that you promoted GMO labeling.

If you did promote it, that means you're heading in the correct direction, you're for removing the government from this issue, letting individuals do for themselves. That letting is the self application of restictions through knowledge or absence of knowledge, ignorance. Think of that application in answering this question: Who can grow food? Answer: Anyone, including you.

The comprehension of the relationship between the individual and what is external to him is paramount in all action a human takes and that comprehension shows why what GreyWyvern said -- "Allowing manufacturers to label their products as "GMO-free"...is a good thing." -- is correct.

Most of what makes government good is negation, that is, not doing. Now, however, negation isn't enough. Repealing is needed.

Marc, you said you think state regulation isn't the answer. Correct. It isn't. Regulation in any aspect of life except regulation the individual makes for himself is wrong regulation. For an individual to call upon something external to him and other individuals to make those individuals so is to remove their ability to think and to act. This removal is subjugation, is slavery. Slavery is misery and death. In politics the word for slavery is tyranny.

Presently, tyranny is at the federal level. There, its application is hit and miss on individuals. At the least we want to confine tyranny to the federal level, where it's furthest away from the individual. In other words, we at least want to prevent transference of or, worse, spread of tyrannny to the state (or the worst, local) level, right? The thinking and acting person wants to benefit himself, and who better than him can evaluate what is what to benefit him?

Remember, Marc:

The individual who injects a third party to do for him to make someone be how he the injector is is engaged in usurpation and subjugation.

The individual who does for himself is free. Because he is free, he enables who he interacts with to continue being free or, yes, become free.

If energy is expended, make that expense correct. You, Marc, are engaged in expending energy. Your expense of it is fighting. Here, from freedom's launch pad the fight is -- or should be -- against mandates. The correct action in fighting is stopping government activity in farming, that it has no say in food production, resulting in farmer John notifying his customers about his food to the degree they request it or else risk going out of business, losing to farmer Marc who meets his customers' requests.

Comprehension of freedom--->freedom.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

Agreed Completely

My thoughts on this have shifted in the past several months. I originally viewed this as an act of state nullification, and it may be in some way. But the correct action for a state to take here would be to say "in this state, you may freely label or not label food however you wish"... and allow consumers to buy based on what companies best provide the best information.

I plan to write a follow up to my original post reflecting the changing of my view on this initiative.

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

You're welcome, Marc. And, to

You're welcome, Marc.

And, to what you said: right on.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

The problem is much deeper than that

We're on the same side; I don't like GMO as much as you don't like it. I just don't want government to step in and be the regulator, because you know it's going to take its marching orders from committees stacked with conflicts of interest.

You said: "The FDA has made it ILLEGAL for anyone to label their foods as being GMO free or as containing GMO."

Then that is what you should fight for, the repeal of this law making such labeling illegal. You shouldn't be fighting to make not having such labels illegal, which just rearranges, but does not solve, the problem of too much regulation.

Also, if such regulation becomes law, who defines the term GMO? Did you know that today's wheat would not fall under the current industry definition of GMO even though its genetic structure has been almost completely altered via toxic chemicals and radiation? The "amber waves of grain" of 50 years ago is now a 2' tall mutant with a seed head so huge the stalk can barely support it. But because they've never manually inserted or deleted genes in a laboratory setting, the industry is able to avoid the term GMO, and also avoids having to pass lengthy nutrition tests which would assess its fitness for consumption.

GMO labeling means nothing as long as those in government (IOW lobbyists) get to determine the definition of the term "GMO". In fact, such labeling is worse than nothing because of the increased regulatory burden on businesses and the added expense of government agencies set up to enforce it.

If organizations such as Monsanto can't keep "GMO-free" labels banned, then they know the next best thing is for government to make them mandatory. They know they can use lobbyists to twist the use and meaning of such labels, and then leverage them to crush smaller players through regulation and litigation. The very LAST thing they would want is the removal of all government restrictions related to GMO labeling on foods. That would actually put them on a level playing field with competitors.

I hope that CA Starts a Movement for Labeling!

I believe Vermont was trying to do the same thing but, Monsanto stopped that from happening.

God luck CA. We have a right a consumers to know what we are putting into our bodies. I would like to see this enacted nation wide.

So you're libertarian

... about all things, but when it comes to GMO labeling you're a strict Statist.

Right to know what we are putting into our bodies? We as consumers have no such right as you describe. By whose authority do you receive such a right? Where is such a right outlined in the Constitution or Bill of Rights?

You have a right to your own liberty, and that right includes doing your own due diligence to determine whether or not what you eat is in fact good for you, or not. That same right to liberty gives you the power to ask companies to reveal whether or not their products contain GMO, and then refusing to buy those products if they do, or if the company refuses to reveal the information.

Requiring GMO labeling is just giving more power to government.

So do you

believe that we should have the government quit requiring labeling the nutrition values on foods too? Besides isn't this a state issue not the federal government, I mean we are all for state's rights aren't we? Now don't get me wrong I'm all for small government, but if we are to change this GMO business then what we need to do is inform people about the dangers of GMO foods. I agree no new laws or regulations, but do you honestly believe that the average person even knows what GMO is? If they did know there is so much propaganda praising GMO foods on how good it is. If the same special interest are blocking these laws then why is the law a bad thing? The more people know the dangers of GMO then the less money the special interest would have to buy the government, so why not label GMO's we label alcohol, cigarettes, small plastic toys, electronics, etc. I'm just wondering not trying to be offensive here just want your view more clearly.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our Liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Yes, I do.

It is a mistake to believe that the only way manufacturers will put nutrition information on their products is because of government coercion. Such a belief denies that free-market demand itself would put pressure on corporations to reveal this information voluntarily. I personally believe that government interference with the free-market is precisely the reason why these corporations haven't already brought such labeling to market. Who needs GMO labeling when we can lobby the government with GMO propaganda that makes everyone feel safe?

Yes, this particular case is a state issue, but that doesn't mean that because it's a state issue such government regulation magically turns from bad to good. If such legislation goes through, what stops California regulators from coming down on small family farms who aren't properly labeling the produce they sell privately to their neighbours? This is the kind of situation I fear: Has your corn been tested for GMO? Sorry, you need to send it away to this lab annually, at your own cost, in order to determine whether or not it needs a GMO sticker. Otherwise you can't sell it to consumers directly, even if they're your relatives living across the street. Not our problem, it's the law.

You said: "If we are to change this GMO business then what we need to do is inform people about the dangers of GMO foods."

You are exactly right. So who are you going to recruit for the job? Knowledgeable individuals, or maybe a crowd-funded consumer advocacy group? Or would you rather give that job to the government?

It is not the job of the government to protect us from ourselves, and it is only the cozy relationship of high-profile food corps with government which keeps most consumers in the dark about what goes into our food. Have you ever thought that the reason the "average person" is so nonchalant about the source of their food is in fact because the involvement of government food safety programs provides a false sense of security that "someone in charge" is keeping everyone safe?

Do you actually know why we label alcohol, cigarettes, small plastic toys, electronics and other things? It's actually less about keeping us safe, and more about protecting corporations from litigation. Government has gotten so involved with keeping us safe through protective laws and regulations, that it has created a society which believes when something does go wrong, it must be someone else's fault. The drunk tried to drive a car after drinking a bottle of whiskey; too bad the bottle had a warning label on it not to operate heavy machinery, or we could have sued them for selling a dangerous product. You bought this small, cheap toy from China for your toddler, but a piece broke off and nearly choked them to death? Of course it's not your fault for buying cheap junk, or not watching your toddler, it must be the fault of the manufacturer, or the government for not ensuring these toys are up to standard.

The idea is personal responsibility and freedom. The more we regulate through government, the less we have of both as a society. You may feel safer to know that your government is keeping you safe by requiring warning labels on cigarettes, but such an attitude makes two very insulting assumptions: 1) That people don't know how to take care of themselves if they have to, and 2) Government is the only way to get important information into the hands of those who should have it.

Why are these companies fighting against the GMO labeling laws? Because they don't want to lose the sweet setup they currently have. But once it becomes clear they can no longer have it that way, you can bet they will push for full labeling laws, with probably plenty of expensive hoops to jump through in order to comply. The big companies won't have much of a problem handling these new regulations, but the medium and small companies, including family farm businesses, will be devastated under the weight of these new requirements.

Keep government out of the product labeling business. Consumers need to regulate the safety of what they buy themselves. Such is the only way to ensure true competition in the market and thus no special advantage for any company, no matter how large or powerful it may be.

Excellent, Grey

Yes, this particular case is a state issue, but that doesn't mean that because it's a state issue such government regulation magically turns from bad to good.

Yes. Correct. Similar to your statement is the argument for gold and silver whose implementation many RPers want and want it from government or an entity central. Talk about wrongheaded, no, rather, fatalistic. The similarity is oversimplification, a simplification absent what is critical: the owner-controller-issuer aspect. Yes, whether federal government or a state carries out GMO law, the result is ugly or uglier, the latter condition belonging to the state -- because of its proximity to the individual, moving from loose law application to firm application. The move is represented by man power, of course, oh, and technology whose influence is growing and, if the path of life is maintained, will replace man, turning itself into control. (That's for when most or all things are tied to the grid, the electronic system.)

You said: "If we are to change this GMO business then what we need to do is inform people about the dangers of GMO foods."

I too saw he wrote that and was going to say to him what you said here: You are exactly right.

Perfect reply, Grey. I would've then said, What's stopping you from informing people? Get to it -- become a farmer, do informing, whatever it is. Just do it. Go. If he attempted to inform while living according to what he was advocating, he would've concluded his advocacy of the externality government, as any other externality besides his consumers, would cause him to destroy his business.

I believe government interference in the free market is the reason why these corporations haven't already brought such labeling to market.

It looks as though this statement of yours is incongruent to your argument: that the farmer be free to label his products how he sees fit. But you're right, and I say, thankfully government has interfered in this manner, negation. If it hadn't negated implementing label demand, our food prices and whatever is tied to food's production would cost more than it does today because what we'd be viewing is when the implementation of the law you, and I, are against is -- then, now or later. Better now than then, and better later than now.

Why are these companies fighting against the GMO labeling laws? Because they don't want to lose the sweet setup they currently have.

I disbelieve they're fighting GMO laws. Why? Because, as you said, "the big companies won't have...a problem handling these new regulations, but the medium and small companies, including family farm businesses, will be devastated under the weight of these new requirements." Astute determination, Grey. Your insight explains consolidation. Consolidation=rich-->richer (some people become millionaires and, decreasingly, some m's become billionaires and some b's become trillionaires and so on); nonrich-->more nonrich people and nonrichness exacerbates (sturdy number of millionaires move down from millionaire-hood and whatever-is-less-than-millionaire moves down. Ratio of rich to nonrich: very few to a heckuva lot. Illegitimate pyramid scheme all the way. I argue those companies want those laws more now than before now.

Consumers need to regulate the safety of what they buy themselves.

Agreed. That's why government needs to stop fining and imprisoning people who abide by their standards rather than the government's standard, a standard more than not is the standard of the corporations, turning the government into an instrument of force.

Excellent commentary, Grey.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

I agree

in fact I got a letter the other day from the Virginia Department of Agriculture on request from the Governor because I wrote asking the Governor about this issue. I also wrote him just to share my concerns over GMO foods and provided him with the various links to scientific researches. The head of the DoA told me that a patchwork of different labeling laws would interfere with the free market and commerce between states. I do agree that we should not give government another job to do.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our Liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Hmmm...yeah.

Thank you for helping me clarify this one in my own mind. I am vehemently opposed to any law or regulation that prevents me from knowing what I'm eating or feeding to my family. I also appreciate how common sense and a careful read of the constitution should be guiding our protests and activism.

Thank you, GrayWyvern, for your point of view and your civility.

Nothing comes to those who wait.

Let us hope so...

I live in cali forn ya