You might not have noticed if you get your slant on our state politics here, but there are LOTS (11!) of propositions confronting California voters this November. The one I'm working on, Prop. 34 to replace the death penalty, is not the one that has attracted the most spending. Aside from the one attacking unions' ability to participate in politics (Prop. 32-vote NO!) and a couple of tax measures, the big locus of campaign money, campaign ads, and campaign swag is Prop. 37. A coalition of organic farmers, businesses, and foodies think we ought to have the right to know which of our foods are genetically engineered. Hence we're voting on a labeling law.
Nutrition guru Michael Pollan explains what the hotly contested campaign is really about:
Corporate cash is pouring in to defeat the labeling requirement.
Dupont, Dow, Pepsi and Coke are also major donors to the "no" side. We're going to be wallowing in TV ads, many misleading at best, against the measure.
A segment of the opposition that is a little less visible than the food corporations is the big grocery interests. Perhaps opposition from Safeway and Lucky supermarkets accounts for the fact that most all the establishment media has jumped in with the NO side: after all, supermarket pitches are some of the few forms of local advertising still available to newspapers.
Prop. 37 started out polling overwhelmingly positively; most of us want the chance to know what we are eating, even if we aren't likely to pay much attention. The ad blitz will try to turn us around.
I'm agnostic on whether genetically engineered food is poisoning us, but I support this proposition. GMOs may not be killing us, but these big food corporations can't be trusted to weigh our well-being against their profits. Hence the need for a labeling law and generally to knock industrial food purveyors down a peg.
These politically opinionated plastic figures live in the windows of a San Francisco store selling organic ice cream.