GUEST OPINION: Yes on Prop. 37

This November, we have a chance to make history by becoming the first state in the nation to vote for the right to know what's in our food.

Proposition 37 would label foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Also called GMOs, these are plants or animals that have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other species in ways that can't occur in nature. Despite the lack of independent safety studies showing them to be safe, GMOs have become prevalent in the American food supply without our knowledge or consent.

By providing a simple label, Proposition 37 will finally give consumers the well-deserved right to know what's in the food we eat and feed our families.

As a local farmer, I want to know. My livelihood depends on standing behind what I grow and guaranteeing customers that my food doesn't contain anything created in a lab.

That promise is becoming increasingly harder to make. Across the country, farmers are experiencing the devastating effects of contamination of their natural and organic corps through GMO cross-pollination carried through the wind or by birds and insects. There has also been a dramatic increase in the use of pesticides to kill super bugs and super weeds that have arisen as a result of crops designed to resist them. And farmers who paid for expensive seeds that don't reproduce are getting yields no larger than they would have had using natural crops.

Adding insult to injury, in order to replant their crops at all, farmers are then forced to re-purchase patented seeds from Monsanto — the same multinational corporate giant that is the source of so many of their problems.

Struggling farmers should not be made dependent on the very pesticide companies that are destroying their businesses.

These are the same companies that have spent $34.5 million to defeat Proposition 37.

The overwhelming majority of people in California and across the United States want to know if their food contains GMOs. More than 1 million Americans have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to label these foods so we can make informed choices about what we want to eat — like consumers in Europe, Japan, China, Russia and more than 40 other countries.

Though there are serious questions about the health impacts of genetically engineered foods, the FDA doesn't require independent safety studies. A former Monsanto attorney wrote the FDA policy that disregards the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association recommendations that GMOs should undergo mandatory pre-market safety testing.

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