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Laetitia Mailhes's picture

Let's cut to the chase:

1/ there's no such thing as a scientific consensus on GMO (genetically modified organisms) safety—but a battle of opinions supported by studies that each side unsurprisingly deems irrefutable or deeply flawed

2/ GMO benefit nobody today but the IP owners of the patented seeds (or rather, their bottom line)--not the consumer, not the small farmer, despite the biotech industry's claims to the contrary: the former is unwittingly acting as a guinea pig, the latter is enslaved to patented seeds whose false promises have already driven many to suicide.

As a consumer, I refuse to subscribe to an industry that preys on farmers in the name of solving world hunger, and that (gulp!) claims to promote “sustainable” agriculture.

And my stance, as a mother, is clear: I will do everything in my power to avoid subjecting my baby boy to the worldwide experiment that is conducted by the industrial food industry. Its results may not become clear and apparent for another generation—it may be too late, and I'm not keen to find out.

The European Union and several other countries already understand this. They've adopted the precautionary principle according to which GMO are deemed risky until proven safe and not the other way around. As a result, their regulations require all foods containing GMO to be labeled, so that consumers are given the information they need to choose.

A similar conclusion was reached by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a four-year international research program funded by the World Bank and six U.N. Agencies. Its report was endorsed by 59 nations in 2008. It states that "there is a wide range of perspectives on the environmental, human health and economic risks and benefits of modern biotechnology; many of these risks are as yet unknown."

In the absence of GMO labeling in the United States, I am left with staying clear of GMO by buying as little processed food as possible. And when I do, I buy organic, since the organic label requires no intentional use of GMO (although it leaves the door open to an unregulated amount of GMO being accidentally incorporated into the final product). Meanwhile, many consumers who are unaware of the issues linked to GMO (public health, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, social and economic woes in developing countries, you name it), are gypped of the opportunity to be exposed to it, and to inquire as to what all the fuss is about.

If Proposition 37 passes in California, the State will join the ranks of many nations where GMO labeling is mandatory. Despite the claims of the anti-Prop. 37 campaign (funded by the biotech industry and Big Food to the tune of more than 48 million dollars), the impact of GMO labeling on food prices is expected to be negligible, even non-existent.

However, the impact on the industrial food system may ripple through the nation. Consumers in other states may be inspired to follow in Californians' footsteps, and to ramp up the Label-It campaign at home and in Washington. Meanwhile, food companies may find that revising their recipes, supply-chain and packaging for one state makes little sense. They may decide to use California's requirements as their new standard.

Sure, I may be a dreamer. Hopefully, you can dream with me. And, if you vote in California, you can cast a Yes vote on Prop. 37.

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