It’s a Label-Colorado has a Right to Know
I listened to a lot of Paul Harvey as a kid. Unintentionally I guess, I don’t know, listening to the radio back when that was our option—on family road trips, in the car with parents on errands. I recall him as an affable older man, even then three decades or so before he finally stopped broadcasting.
By now we have all seen the ads with the friendly grandfatherly ‘farmer’ predicting all manner of gloom and doom if consumers get a new label on the food we buy. $10 Million in 6- and 7 figure chunks from newly minted SCOTUS ‘persons’ like Smuckers, Pepsico, Dow Agro and, of course, Monsanto buys real penetration.
But first off, genuine Colorado accent and cred aside, the nice gentleman is dissembling. He is standing there, Colorado, looking sincerely in the camera and misleading you. Oh, and he’s a paid lobbyist for Big Ag.
Proposition 105 would require a new label on most food sold in Colorado stores and markets and requires nothing new of farmers, other than disclosing what they are growing if their buyer doesn’t already know.
Farmers already using GMO seeds and selling to food companies that are aware of the reality of where their sugar beets, for instance, are sourced can keep doing business like they are now.
For food manufacturers and those selling directly to consumers: the final product would have to be labeled accordingly by mid-2016, like many of them already are for export across the globe.
Labeling allows consumers to make choices informed by data that matter to them. This is its intent. Sixty-four nations—including 16 of Colorado’s top 25 trading partners—require labeling of genetically engineered foods, and their shelves are still full and the costs of their products have not spiked.
Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, recently did this work in Oregon (which has a similar measure on its ballot), and compared food costs in nations that have labeling of genetically engineered foods and the few (western) nations that do not (you can count them on your hand) and found no meaningful difference in costs.
We know labeling works because we have almost the entire western world and many other nations to look to and see that it does: including all of the European Union, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, India and Mexico.
If all these nations can respond successfully to what consumers clearly want, then companies operating in Colorado can adapt as well. Many American companies already label their products for these other markets, even those that are fighting it here.
Colorado consumers should not be left in the dark, and enacting Proposition 105 would take a huge and critical step toward more, not less, informed consumer choice.
It is not a ban on any seed or technology, or a requirement that any farmer change practice. It is a label that already works in 64 nations around the world where groceries are still on the shelves at comparable prices.
Corporations should not be afraid to tell Coloradans what is in the products we are buying to feed our families. That is the short of it. Colorado has a right to know…that is the rest of the story.
This blog is my own opinion but I am voting YES on 105. I count myself among many Coloradans that support this reasonable step toward more informed consumer choice, and I am proud to be an advocate for its passage.
You too can volunteer at www.righttoknowcolorado.org/volunteer
Ballots drop in 4 days…please vote YES on 105 and don't be bamboozled by big money even if it wears a cowboy hat.