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Proposition 37 defeat great victory for agriculture, truth

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Big victory behind-the-woodshed whooping of anti-GMO radicals.

Proposition 37 defeat death knell for federal mandatory food labeling effort.

Was it a referendum against organics movement?

California voters decisively rejected the mislabeled Proposition 37 “right to know” food labeling initiative by a huge margin.

It was an amazing come-from-behind victory. At one time the polls showed the proposition passing by a 3-to-1 margin. The margin of victory was 53.1 percent no; 46.9 percent yes, a cavernous spread. More than 9 million votes were cast.

The team that put together the well-structured, tasteful, fact-filled campaign against the proposition deserves kudos all around. I emphasize “tasteful.” In past commentaries, I suggested a junkyard approach. I was wrong. The anti-Proposition 37 effort did it right.

The failure of Proposition 37 ranks as one of the top three modern-day California agricultural political victories.

It’s right up there with the 1976 defeat of Proposition 14, a UFW-spawned initiative which would have trampled the property right of farmers and the legislative repeal of the tractor tax in 2001.

However, it is far more than an agricultural triumph. It is a resounding setback for the floundering national initiative for mandatory food labeling. This has languished in Congress for several years.  The radicals had hoped a Proposition 37 victory would give it legs to move. It is now politically legless.

Defeat of Prop 37 was a behind-the-woodshed whooping of the fanatical anti-GMO movement.

The campaign also gave California agriculture added credibility. The discerning campaign had people listening to agriculture’s point of view.

The proposition’s defeat could also be called an organic food referendum.  Proposition 37 opponents did not make it an organic versus conventional issue. Organic advocates did it by openly supporting the initiative, and there could be a backlash. The Stanford University study that came out during the campaign that said there is no nutritional differences between organic and conventional fruits and vegetables partly spawned that recoil. One thing for sure is 37 spread the word that organic does not mean no pesticides.

To turn back the anti-GMO movement in the biggest battle to date was costly. Something to the right of $35 million was needlessly spent to whack the whackos. It was a ludicrous proposition waste of money that could have been well-spent elsewhere.

The other disturbing part of the 37 campaign was the lack of support from some agricultural groups who shied away from taking a stand because they did not have a dog in the fight. However, as part of agriculture, they did. The same people who palmed off Proposition 37 will likely come after agriculture again, and it could be your dog next time.

And there were those like Frey Vineyards in Mendocino County and Lundberg Family Farms in the Sacramento Valley, both commercial organic producers, who actively supported Prop 37.

Both the Lundbergs and the Freys are long-standing California farming families. Their support of Prop 37 was bewildering.  Why did they support a group that attacked many of the tools they can use and likely have used to farm?

The anti-GMO crowd constantly attacks the “Bt toxins” in insect resistant crops. Bt is an organic pesticide, and the Freys and Lundbergs know that.

And there is the charge radicals continue to bring up that GMO crops are “lab grown.” All plants are crossed initially in labs, and the Frey and Lundberg families know that, too.

And thirdly, the DNA technology that came from the development of GMO technology is used today in conventional breeding of rice, grapevines and all other crops to advance the selection process of non-GMO crops.

Discuss this Blog Entry 26

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

If there is nothing wrong with GMO crops, why is there a problem labeling food to let people know what they are eating? If there is no real difference between GMO and non-GMO crops as you say, why do Monsanto and other GMO producing companies have patents on their seeds which they regularly defend? As a consumer, I have the right to know what I and my family are consuming, and food producers have an obligation to be transparent about their processes and their ingredients.

chris hunt (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Here is an idea, read the label. If there are corn or soy products in it. There is about a 99% chance it was from GMO seed. If you choose not to buy it cause of that then that's up to you. Putting a label on food with byproduct from GMO that are chemically and nutritionally identical to "organic"sources will just mislead consumers into think something is wrong with it, when there isn't.

zoezoe (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

The part about 'chemically and nutritionally identical' isn't true. Although the toxic chemical companies won this battle, they will lose the war. If the foods were identical, then they would not be causing ecological and biological damage that required a campaign of well over $40 million (which is not counting the under the table money given to Newspapers) If you read beyond the industry propaganda, the evidence is stacking up that the current techs. are a failed and damaging experiment.

eentis (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

Would you please cite the "evidence" that is stacking up? My wife says that I am one of the biggest skeptics she knows. That is a non-partisan- complaint. So please give me some ammo to show that there is some evidence of danger. Otherwise., my skeptical nature will be forced to conclude that your opinion is just that: an opinion. And we all have one.

on Nov 29, 2012

technically the ecological and biological damage being done is a result of the hormone-mimicking /cancer causing herbicides and pesticides these GMO crops are engineered to be used with.
The damage done by the GMO crops themselves is mostly due to chemical residues in them and the cancer caused by the inflammation they cause in the digestive track. Just want to keep this scientifically correct.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Robert Wager here.

It is very well documented the huge amount of negative "information" in the public realm about GMO's. To suggest this is not directly what prop 37 was about is being dishonest. if it was really about the right to know how food was created in the first place then ionizing radiation mutagenesis and chemical mutagenesis methods of plant breeding would have also been part of the prop. I would guess the organic lobby would not be keen on have a "produced with ionizing radiation mutagenesis" label on their products.

if All breeding methods on All food had been the prop it would have passed easily. Food for thought.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

how much mon$anto pay you to flog such a clearly biased post?

scott curran (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

kill yourself

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

You forgot to mention the Anti-prop 37 crew's $45 million dollars invested in continuing the consumer GMO information boycott

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Wanting to know if the food you are eating has been genetically tampered with in a lab is "whacko" ?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

What a bias article. "Come from behind"? As in up the rear.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

How do you sleep at night Harry? What do they have on you?

Chris. (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

This was my first post to read from WFP.com, and I can safely say my last. I do have to give credit--what a creative idea, to make it sound like farmers are against food labeling. We are, after all, the hard-working, salt of the earth backbone of America. If we think those non-GMO types are whacko, it must be true, right?

Boy, $35 million dollars. Monsanto and their cronies must have had to reach deep into their car cupholders to round all that up. Or are you telling me this was funded by us farmers? Everyone knows we are uber rich.

Evan E (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Clearly the author has his mind well trained by his master's, Monsanto. Enjoy the delusion while it lasts. The tide is turning, regardless of government involvement.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

Four main flaws with the "right to know" argument:

1. When it doesn't affect nutrition (which GMO labelling doesn't), the argument is illogical because it has no end. What else does the consumer allegedly have the "right" to know? Should food producers also be required to label their products with info on whether they pay their workers a "living wage"?

2. The labeling will, on the one hand, stigmatize certain products and producers, but on the other hand, offer no nutritional benefit.

3. The non-GMO corn you happily eat now is a man-made hybrid that has almost nothing to do with the wild maze that our hunter-gatherer ancestors found and ate. Why is it ok to eat food that is the product of centuries of artifical hybridization of different species of plants that would never interbreed in nature?

4. Don't like GMO foods? Grow and produce your own food and stop trying to force those who grow and produce it for you, what to say.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

I have to agree with most of the posts against Prop 37. First, i read the entire language of the Prop. Poorly written. No hint of how to implement. Would be a logical nightmare to enforce, identify back to vendor, tracking. Like one poster said. If it contains soy or corn, it's a good bet the seed stock was GMO. If you feel uncomfortable, buy only at organic stores or grow your own. But please, would a small minority of polarized thinkers stop forcing your will on the rest of America. You get more contamination and danger being out in the sun light. Are you gonna to pass a Propositioin to outlaw the Sun becuase of it's radiation?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 8, 2012

The truth is GMO foods are slow poisons and someday you will be treated as the criminals that you are. I wouldn't be surprised if you figured out a way to fix the voting process. At the very least you are the biggest liars for profit scums in the world today. Eat that

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

To the anti-GMO crowd who keep hanging on to the whining refrain of "if there isn't anything wrong with GMO's why don't you just label them"? The answer is simple.....there is no reason to label them because there is absolutely no intrinsic difference between GMO's and non-GMO's. They are the same. So the real issue in play is why drive the cost we pay for our food food significantly higher with such onerous new requirements on products that food producers would be required to take in the path from farm through transportaition to storage segregationin and processing for no other reason than satisfying a vocal minority of snooty elitist malcontents who would impose their economic bigotry of higher food costs on the majority.

Get over it you whiners and answer the question I have about why you people see an imaginary boogie man in every method used and product produced in modern agriculture as a poisonous and diabolical threat to your health. At the same time, a high number of you are also proponents of drug legalization for recreational use?

The two don't jive, but then your fact starved crusade against the safest and most abundant food supply in the world doesn't jive with common sense either.

The anarchy of the few has been defeated. The whining will continue, however, as these luddites meet to sulk over their $5 lattes and plan their next protest.

True Truth (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

Health issues aside, chemical companies with their patented GMO seeds may soon be in a position to control small farmers like slaves. All farmers should watch the movie "David Versus Monsanto".

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

You people break me up. Monsanto is in no more of a position to control small (or large ) farmers any more than John Deere is positioned to control tractor purchases. If a farmer decides to buy GMO seeds or non GMO seeds, he does so after considering the economic return in comparing the two. They have choices, just like purchasers of tractors who are not bound to buy John Deere. If the free market with freedom to choose is considered "slavery" then there is no amount of explaining any truth that will allow you to justify using "True Truth" as your monniker.

GMO crops are in wide use because they provide economic benefits and returns to the farmer, including soil/land stewardship. If they didn't the farmers would not purchase them. Just like John Deere tractors.....you see a lot of green out there in the fields because farmers like what their technology offers, but you also see red out there too. It doesn't get any easier to understand than that.

Chris. (not verified)
on Nov 10, 2012

You've never read a Monsanto contract I take it.

Jared (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

You tree huggers and liberals humor me. California agriculture had one shining moment out of this election and it was the FAILURE of this prop!

Thank you and good day

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 9, 2012

The non-GMO movement didn't fail, a proposition failed to get passed that is all. I love how the ignorant keep spouting the non truth of Monsanto science here. It is bovious that you have bought unto or been bought into the misinformation and out and out misinformation Monsant paid science wants you to believe. Prop 37 didn't get passed but boy did it rais the issue and knowledge of GMOs in our food. Some of the people that were swayed by the lies and misrepresentation the money $40 plus million bought will inevitably look deeper into GMOs and when they do, unlike the fools spouting off the Monsanto verbage over and over like a mindless mantra, these people will find that they were duped, and that will feed the non-GMO movement even more so. So thanks for $40 plus million in advertisiment to get the message out that GMOs are real and GMOs are out there.

Chemie Babe (not verified)
on Nov 13, 2012

Yeah for common sense!

Skeptical Biologist (not verified)
on Nov 23, 2012

If there is nothing wrong with the product then WHY do you object to openly labeling the product as GMO.

To say that someone must know that a product containing soy or corn contains GMO "foods" is deceitful at best and poisoning at worst.

When GMO were first introduced decades ago it was "guaranteed" with the reputation of the modifiers at risk that the modifications would be contained in the areas that grew the plants. Guess What? Bees and butterflies and other pollinators do not recognize fence lines or edges of fields to halt pollination. Neighboring crops of all types were cross pollinated and carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, beans ad infinitem were "accidentally" genetically modified. As a collateral damage many of the bee colonies in the US have been decimated and we do not yet know about the populations of other pollinators. Can anyone say "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson?

on Nov 29, 2012

The more interesting part of the failure to Prop 37 passed has to be asked a different way: where was all the big-money organic consumer contributions? I mean, where was Angelina Jolie's contribution? Brad Pitt? They both eat organic. So does Jennifer and Clooney and most billionaires like Gates (who advocates GMOs for Africa but eats organic himself) where were all their contributions? Why didn't Hollywood, elitist, liberal contributions make the difference? Why wasn't Brad and Clooney and Jennifer's faces plastered all over the TV ads?
Well: if you know, tell me. Caused I'm confused. They all eat organic: but didn't think it was necessary to save the "little" people? Or has Jolie done her part to save the world because she adopted an African child?

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