Prop 37 is also full of loopholes. It carves out exceptions for food served in restaurants, which would not have to carry labels. Alcohol, cheese, meat, and milk also would receive special treatment.

Oddly enough, pet food probably will have to carry labels. That’s nice: Apparently your dog will enjoy a complete “right to know,” even if you don’t.

No wonder the Sacramento Bee editorialized against Prop 37: “We don’t oppose labeling of genetically modified food,” it wrote, but this particular referendum “is a classic example of an initiative that shouldn’t be on the ballot.”

The weird treatment of my pistachio farm provides an excellent example of why Prop 37 is so misconceived.

My pistachio trees are not genetically modified, and they behave just as pistachio trees are supposed to behave: They grow nuts, whose shells crack open naturally. We harvest the pistachios, then roast and salt them.

Before shipping them off, we put them in packages, which describe our product as “naturally opened pistachios.” That’s what they are, so that’s what we call them.

Prop 37 will make us stop. The problem is the word “naturally.” Our pistachio shells may split open on their own, without any human help. Yet we can’t say they open “naturally” because Prop 37 redefines the word. When we roast and salt our pistachios, we somehow make them unnatural–at least according to Prop 37’s crazy definition.

If Prop 37 passes, I’ll suffer from a competitive disadvantage. I’ll have to rethink my entire business model because of a flawed law. Meantime, trial lawyers will line their pockets as you bear the cost of higher food prices for pistachios and many other ordinary products.

Fellow Californians: You not only have a right to know this–you need to know this.

Ted Sheely raises lettuce, cotton, tomatoes, wheat, pistachios, wine grapes and garlic on a family farm in the California San Joaquin Valley. He volunteers as a board member for Truth About Trade & Technology www.truthabouttrade.org