Opposition to California Proposition is Growing

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Corn Growers Association is the latest group to join a broad coalition opposing California’s Proposition 37, which would require labeling of some food products sold in that state that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

“All it’s going to do is add to food costs,” said NCGA president Garry Niemeyer of Illinois. “It is a flawed proposition and its exemptions don’t really make sense for those who support the idea of the ‘right to know.'”

An example of exemptions that make no sense – cow’s milk is exempt but soy milk requires a label. Dairy products, eggs, meat and poultry are all exempt. Fruit juice requires a label, but alcohol made with some of the same GE ingredients is exempt. Food sold in a grocery store requires a label, but the same food sold in a restaurant is exempt.

Listen to my interview with Garry here: NCGA president Garry Niemeyer

At least 60 agricultural organizations are part of the campaign urging Californians to vote No on Prop 37, titled the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.” San Joaquin valley diversified farmer Greg Palla says the initiative would effectively ban the sale of tens of thousands of common grocery products only in California, unless they are relabeled or made with more costly ingredients. “We feel that it’s a very deceptive initiative,” he said, noting that the idea of having to label perfectly safe products “just conflicts with good science.”

Palla says Proposition 37 would have a definite impact outside the state of California, since it would apply to so many retail products that made in other locations. “The impact would be swift and clear,” he said, noting that other states might follow California’s example.

Besides state and national agricultural groups, Prop 37 is being opposed by a broad coalition of ethnic and labor organizations, as well as groups representing scientists, doctors, business, and taxpayers in general. Find out more at NoProp37.com.

Listen to my interview with Greg here: California farmer Greg Palla

Audio, Biotech, politics