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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

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.

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  • J

    John BakerOct 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    While I don’t share the previous commentor’s tone, I do agree with certain of his points. First, Prop. 37 has absolutely NOTHING to do with pesticides, and does not require their labeling. (See Ballotopedia:,_Mandatory_Labeling_of_Genetically_Engineered_Food_(2012) ).

    Second, I do think there’s a certain level of fear mongering about GMO food. Farmers have been modifying the genes of fruits and vegetables for literally thousands of years. You think that organic corn you eat would survive in the wild? Nope, it’s been crossbred and selectively bred over multiple generations. Those golden delicious apples you eat are the results of splicing and limb grafting different apple species.

    I really don’t see it being that different if it’s done in an orchard or in a lab. GMO wheat engineered to survive droughts can feed millions in the third world, as just one example. Is GMO good enough for Africa but not the west?

    Sure, give people the choice. But stop the fear mongering over GMO food.

  • C

    Cin AnOct 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Really? There are no pesticide, potato or broccoli genes in apples – in fact, there are no GMO apples on the market. When and if there are any, they won’t be called apples if they aren’t identical to apples.

    Virtually all organic and other conventional crops today are mutants – either crossbred between species over the past hundred years or even derived by exposing seeds and tubers to chemical and radiation in random experiments to create better crops. Yet nobody is asking for a genetic label or pedigree for these production methods.

    If any crop developed using biotech (genetic engineering) is found to be nutritionally, chemically or otherwise different it has to be labelled already. The current biotech crops include minor genetic tweaks (no fish or rat genes) that do not change them from being corn or soybeans… they allow farmers to grow them using less pesticides, less water, less labor and other benefits. They are helping keep food prices low and availability high.

    If every crackpot demanded their “right to know” how their food was produced (versus the scientifically defined ingredients, nutrition and health data currently found on our labels), then we all are forced to bear the burdens of their special interests. Label gmo production – why not label what pesticides (like organic arsenic, organic rotenone or organic pyretheroids) were sprayed and with what frequencies… How about requiring labels for how much grazing time and space the cow had before it became your Big Mac?

    All this does is foist the costs of the special interest beliefs (not facts, science or valid nutrition or safety information) of a few onto all consumers. If you don’t like GMOs, fine – buy organic. But don’t make the rest of us pay the cost of your personal fancies.

    This labeling scheme is really nothing more than a way to make organic foods more competitive by raising the price of traditionally grown products – why else is the organic industry so heavily funding the Prop 37 efforts?

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