While the press concentrates on Tuesday’s main event Obama vs Romney there are many other battles being waged at the state level. Even though I am no longer a resident of California there is a proposition on the ballot that I am watching with great interest and that is Prop 37.

At first glance Prop 37 may not seem very sexy or contentious. It is all about something as mundane as what needs to appear on a food label on products in your local megamart. Who cares right?

Well you should care!

At the heart of Prop 37 is the use of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). It sounds like something that has little interest or impact on the average consumer? So just what is GMO? In simple terms, you take a natural product, lets say corn, and make it resistant to weeds. Well that is the way that Monsanto might describe it. They are wrong, the corn is just as vulnerable to weeds, but it has been changed so that it has a resistance to toxins (also made by Monsanto), particularly RoundUp.

I am sure that by now you are very confused. Monsanto is doing great things? Right?

Well maybe not! There are many that question the safety of GMO foods. What are the long term effects of messing with nature? The science community mostly says the GMO is just fine. However, one has to understand that most of the research on the subject is funded by the Monsanto’s of the world. Universities and other research orgs tend to go with the wishes of the donor.

Prop 37 does not get into the rights or wrongs of GMO, rather it asks that foods containing GMO products be labeled as such.

It likely goes without saying, Monsanto. Dupont, and the rest of the gang in Big Food hate this idea. But what is the issue? All canned foods have to state what is in them? So what would be the big problem with adding GMO products used? It would give the consumer (if they read it) a choice.

If you don’t give a damn about GMO products it will not bother you at all. Lets face it, only a few people bother to read the labels anyway, so what is wrong with putting ‘GMO products’ on the label?

Well Monsanto and their friends have spent $44 million on stopping a small (small print) addition to a food label.

Who reads labels anyway? Why would these people against Prop 37 put up $44 million to stop it?

It is a complex story, and one that people have written many books about.

Prop 37 only effects California, but should it pass it will have Monsanto reaching for the big bottle of Tums! Other states will climb on the situation.

Simon Barrett

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