What did YOU eat today?

Let me guess: much of it was already prepared in factory kitchens hundreds of miles away and the main ingredients were corn or soy products (or both). Am I right? According to the USDA, 93% of corn, 94% of soybeans and 95% of cotton contain patented genetically engineered genes as well as 95% of sugar beets and canola according to industry reports. In addition, varieties of genetically engineered papayas, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, alfalfa and sweet corn have been approved in the United States.

At the moment, GMO apples, bananas and GMO salmon (the first genetically engineered animal), are awaiting approval or under review in the U.S., in addition to new varieties of GMO corn, soybeans and cotton that have been genetically engineered to survive the application of toxic herbicides.

Appetizing? Healthy for you? Perhaps neither.

Oh. And have you voted yet? While the taste of breakfast/lunch/dinner is still “fresh’ in your mind, visit www.RightToKnowColorado.org for citations, resources and more information about labeling genetically modified food in Colorado.

The premise is simple: a YES vote means you support including the words “ Produced With Genetic Engineering” on the label or container of many packaged foods. That way, every shopper can not only read about fats, salt and carbohydrates but also about which ingredients have been altered genetically. Then you vote with your wallet. Either you buy it or you don’t and that sends the real message to the large firms who currently dictate what you eat.

Maybe, over time, agribusiness will start listening to what consumers want and also treat the land their “ingredients” come from with a healthier respect for the future.

Is this proposition too broadly worded or designed to pull on your emotions? Maybe so. Years ago, people thought that putting dietary ingredients on food labels was radical. Today it’s mainstream. People are more aware of what they eat and that alone is better for all of us.

The “NO” ads are designed to scare you into thinking that Prop 105 will ruin small farmers, raise food prices and change nothing. Not so. Read the 2104 State Ballot Information Booklet for a look at both sides of the question. There’s time to work out the details once the Legislature has your decision in hand.

The sun will still rise in the East every day and set in the West, whether this issue passes or not. The question is whether you will sleep better at night, knowing you have made an investment in a healthier future for yourself and your family.

Think about it and make a conscious choice when you vote. Flip your ballot over and vote YES on Proposition 105.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

One Response to “What did YOU eat today?”

  1. Mark Minor

    Thanks for this cogent and thought out opinion piece, Merrell. This issue has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves---just a quick look at the comment log on this site shows a bustling discussion on density of a housing development. Yet nothing yet about an issue that affects the very means of our health and sustenance. (I'm guessing it's because there's not a buck to be made here).

    GMOs are a difficult, and multi-faceted topic in my mind, and for that reason alone, we should move slowly on them. A doctor friend of mine pointed out to me that GM technology does serve very good human purpose in the fact that most insulin is produced with the aid of this technology. So it's not black and white at all. I do know that the majority of GM seed now is produced to allow either copious amounts of herbicide (made by the same companies...imagine that!) or to actually "insert" material, genetically, that functions as pesticides to certain insects. Built in pesticides! Boy, does that make my mouth water.

    The folks that are spending millions to try and defeat this initiative, started on a non- to shoestring budget by actual Coloradans, would like for you to only think about the "science end" of the argument, and will try and portray one as stupid, ill-informed, backwards, intellectually lazy or hypocritical it they oppose GMOs. They will try and keep the argument strictly on the "science end". But there is a more nefarious aspect of GMOs that doesn't touch science, but the socio-economic framework of our society. For starters, the fact that rapidly, life itself is becoming a patented, corporate-controlled commodity. The fact that Monsanto, or Syngenta or Dow can essentially create a new form of life, patent it, economically control it for the life of the patent, rings very very wrong to me. The ages old method of farming--growing one's seeds for next years crop? No sir. Those are the property of Monsanto, and you'd best be paying us our due, or a phalanx of white-shirted lawyers will be on you post-haste. And the farmers who've found GM plants on their fields due to pollen drift? Why, pay up as well.

    Take this agribusiness philosophy into the third world, and you can see a wonderful model of corporate-colonial control. Seed is free. It's part of the commons, "God-given", if you will. Or used to be. But soon, even God will have to pay Dow chemical.

    So, like GMOs or not (I do not), we at least have the right to have full disclosure on what it is we are eating. Hey, if you think eating corn that has a bacteria gene inserted into it that has the effect of exploding bug's guts (Bacillus thuringiensis) sound yummy, then go for it! You can have mine. I would at least like to know, and won't stand in the way of your right to eat it. But someone (well, some corporation) does not want you to know, and is outspending the backers of this initiative at a rate of 22 to 1 now, and that is growing. A product that someone feels is safe, and wonderful, and is proud of, is something that they actually label boldly! Why don't we see "This product PROUDLY MADE WITH GMOs!!!"??? No, it is hidden, and the people's attempts to make that info known are fought tooth and nail.

    Four words. Made with Genetic Engineering. If you can't put that on a label, then you are hiding something.

    Vote yes on 105.