The Fairfax Town Council audience erupted into applause and cheers Aug. 1 after the council adopted a resolution in support of Proposition 37, the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.”
Several Marin residents spoke in support of the town’s resolution and against genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
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"Like Smart Meters, GMOs are a tyranny of technology which is being imposed upon us without democratic process,” said Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman. “There is currently no market mechanism to give people the choice to not consume GMOs.”
If California voters pass Proposition 37 in November, genetically-engineered food sold in retail outlets must be labeled as a GMO. The proposition would also not allow genetically engineered foods to be labeled as natural.
Fairfax resident Valeri Hood told the council that many people have a limited understanding of biology, making it difficult for some to understand DNA and the basics of a genetically-modified organism.
GMOs are created by gene splicing techniques. Opponents argue it creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes.
According to the Yes on 37 “California Right to Know” campaign, genetically engineered food can create unintended toxicants and increase food allergies.
San Rafael resident Adina Beaumont, a San Anselmo resident and multiple Fairfax residents thanked the Fairfax council for showing support for Prop 37 during public comment on Aug. 1.
Fairfax resident Grace Severtson told the council that corn, cotton, soy and canola are genetically modified unless they have a “non GMO” label or are organic. “If the package says natural, that doesn’t mean anything.”
Severtson said that there are roughly 50 other countries in the world that do label GMOs (including the European Union, Japan and Australia). “For your children’s health and food safety, please help us.”
According to the nonprofit Non GMO Project, “high-risk crops” that are currently in commercial production and must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project verified products include:
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90 percent of U.S. crop)
- Corn (approx. 88 percent of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Cotton (approx. 90 percent of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Soy (approx. 94 percent of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95 percent of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
Some animal products, including milk, meat, eggs and honey, are also considered “high-risk” because of contamination in feed.
Politicians who have endorsed Prop. 37 include U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, State Assemblyman Jared Huffman and State Assemblyman Michael Allen.
Several major U.S. food makers, including Monsanto, Pepsico, Nestle, Kellogg and Coca-Cola have contributed to the No on 37 campaign.
What do you think? Do you support Prop. 37? Are you worried about GMOs?
Also, if you want to get involved. Hood is to spread the word about Prop. 37.