Say yes to Prop. 37 and goodbye to food industry's smoke and mirrors

Crunch! Yum! You taste that? It looks like an apple, it tastes like an apple, but it’s not really an apple. That delicious red fruit was engineered in a lab. It consists of parts of apples, potatoes, pesticides and broccoli DNA. Delicious?

Ignorance can be bliss, except when it comes to what’s in your food.

Proposition 37, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, will require labels to let consumers know if their food has been genetically modified. Genetically engineered foods are products that have had their DNA altered by adding DNA from other plants, animals, viruses and/or bacteria to produce the edible version of a Frankenstein science experiment.

We’ve all seen “Food, Inc.,” the documentary that exposes the cultivation, production and environmental effects of the food supplied in the United States.

We have to combat what we saw in this film. We can take little steps. We can eat organically grown foods. Customers can take full advantage of farmers markets and support locally grown food. Not only does this help the local economy, but it helps the environment. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season and organic ensures they aren’t genetically modified and/or soaked with pesticides.

In mid-2011 there were 7,175 farmers markets operating in the U.S., a 17 percent increase over 2010 figures, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This is encouraging because of the health repercussions of using pesticides in our food.

According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America, glyphosate has been linked to birth defects, neurological disorders, fertility issues and cancer. Atrazine has been linked to birth defects, infertility and possibly cancer. Chlorpyrifos — found in apples, oranges and almonds — can cause respiratory paralysis, and children are at risk if they are born with lower IQs and ADHD. Metolachlor is recognized by the EPA to cause cancer. Symptoms also include difficulty breathing, nausea, convulsions and jaundice.

We eat these chemicals.

Why are these even legal? Why is our government allowing us to consume food drenched with pesticides when they are aware of all the health problems they cause?

But the main issue is labeling.

If Proposition 37 passes, we consumers will no longer be in the dark about our food. We will know exactly what we are eating, which other foods have been incorporated into the products and how much they’ve been modified.

Stay healthy by knowing what you are eating. Support the local economy and the environment by visiting farmers markets. And vote yes on Proposition 37. Labeling will go a long way in ensuring you know what it is you and your family are consuming, and in paving the way to healthier lifestyles.