Written By Jessica Nichols
As this election draws near, both sides of every debate are revving their engines and gearing towards the final battle. Proposition 37, which requires labeling on genetically modified foods, is despite having a strong lead earlier in the race, is finding its footing as opponents to the bill fight back.
In a poll from California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy done four weeks ago, the labeling initiative was supported by more than two-thirds of Californians who said they would vote for it November 6. However, in their latest poll from Tuesday, October 29, results showed the support for the initiative to have fallen to only 39 percent, with the opposition nearing 51 percent of the vote.
The opposition is largely funded by biotechnology company, Monsanto, DuPont, and PepsiCo Inc, managing to sway public opinion with a $46 million campaign against genetically modified organism, popularly referred to as GMO, labeling, making Proposition 37 one of the most well-funded ballot measures fights.
Opponents to the initiative claim that it is “poorly written,” and will result in costly effects to farmers and consumers, adding $400 to their monthly grocery costs. These ads also point at “special interest exemptions” toward restaurants and animals that consume GMO feed.
Those in support of the initiative say that consumers have the right to know what is going in the food that they eat, and say that claims to higher expenses to consumers, farmers, and businesses have no founding.
Many of the processed foods that we see stocking the shelves at grocery stores use GMOs—corn and soybeans being some of the top most used. These genetically modified foods are crossed with the DNA of other species to resist insects and pesticides.
Each side claims insufficient evidence and shotty science on the part of the other with the intent to mislead voters. And without sufficient government testing on the long-term effects of GMOs, the voter is left to the mercy of both sides and their campaign talking points.
Currently, the United States does not require labeling on GM foods so long as they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts. The US also does not require pre-market safety testing of these foods. Supporters of the initiative cry that we just do not know what these foods could do to people health-wise, especially after long-term use in our daily diets.
DuPont and Monsanto, the lead in contributions at $8 million contributed, lead the industry in their genetically modified seed businesss.
As the clock counts down to the election, it seems that opponents may have surpassed those in favor of the proposition. However, only time will tell if voters will support or opposed this polarized and controversial topic.