Exclusive Sustainable Pulse interview with David Bancroft, Campaign Director @ Just Label It , regarding Proposition 37*. This is the first of a series of interviews from GMO experts from around the globe, which will all be published on Sustainable Pulse before the November 6 ballot in California.
How should Californians vote on Proposition 37 and why?
Just Label it encourages California voters to vote in favor of Prop 37 because all people have the right to know what is in the food they eat and feed their families. This is also a step on the path to securing the freedom to choose and the right to know for all Americans.
What difference will it make to companies such as Monsanto if foods that contain GMOs are labeled in California?
They have three choices. First, Monsanto and the other big chemical and food companies could sue to try to stop the implementation of the law. Second, if the companies did not want to label their foods GMO, they could switch to non-GMO ingredients. Lastly, Monsanto and the other big chemical and food companies that support genetic engineering could look at GMO labeling as a terrific opportunity to stand up for their beliefs. If GMOs have advantages, let us hear what they are, and let the consumer decide.
Has the latest research published by Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini had any influence on public opinion regarding the Proposition 37 ballot, in your opinion?
When it comes to GMO research, including the Seralini study, the bottom line is that not enough independent research has been done. Even though GMOs have been in the US food system for more than 15 years, the jury is still out. The public sees that we still lack definitive long-term research that indicates that GMOs are safe for humans and the environment.
Who are the main supporters behind the ‘No’ campaign alongside Monsanto?
It appears to be the chemical companies and the food companies that make a hefty profit by keep the public in the dark about our food. The Grocers Manufacturers Association (GMA) – Big Food’s national lobby group – has called defeating Prop 37 “the single highest priority for GMA this year.” With childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer rates all on the rise, these industries have chosen denying American’s right to know about their food to be more important.
What do you think will be the reaction of consumers if the ‘Yes’ campaign is successful?
California consumers will be pleased to have finally won the right to know about the food they eat and serve their families. This will undoubtedly energize the rest of the nation to work to ensure that same right for all US citizens. The right to know is already in place for citizens in more than 50 countries around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, Russia and China, and it is time for US citizens to enjoy the same rights. A win in California is a win for all citizens who believe in our right to know.
*Proposition 37, a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative, is on the November 6, 2012 ballot in California as an initiated state statute.
If Proposition 37 is approved by voters, it will:
- Require labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
- Prohibit labeling or advertising such food as “natural.”
- Exempt from this requirement foods that are “certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages.”
- James Wheaton, who filed the ballot language for the initiative, refers to it as “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”