GMO Voter Guide for California's Prop 37

By Lacy J. Hansen for

It's not every election year that our food supply makes its way on to the ballots. However, rarely is food a political issue. This year the issues of genetically modified foods and the labeling of these foods has become an issue of citizen's rights and and human welfare that goes in to the hands of Californians next week. We want to make sure all voters know where they stand and learn more about this issue that, if passed, will affect all Americans.Californians will vote for their Right to Know on November 6.

Genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) are plants or meats that have had their DNA altered in a lab. These organisms have been altered in order to grow a product that might resist pesticides within its own tissue, may yield bigger crops, heartier fruits, or withstand an odd climate despite it being unnatural and completely experimental. These type of organisms are very common in the US, more so than most consumers are even aware of. The majority of corn, soy, cotton, and sugar beet crops grown in America are GMOs. That means GMOs are included in more than 70% of the processed and packaged foods you buy at the grocery store, even though no long term tests have confirmed them as safe. Independent studies have linked GMOs to increased allergies, organ dysfunction, and even fertility issues. This summer introduced the first fresh GMO produce item to our grocery stores when Monsanto debuted its GMO sweet corn.

All of these issues may simply be inconclusive and GMOs may in fact be safe. However, in this country, we are not given the option to choose what we eat. Even though more than 50 other countries across the world require labeling of GMOs, that is not the case in the US. In our country you can walk through your store and unknowingly purchase and consume this experimental food. It's not a possibility, it's happening right now. This is wrong and shouldn't be legal.

"A yes vote on prop 37 in California means you want more transparency in your food. You want the right to know what's in it. You want to know if what you are feeding your family has been altered in a laboratory or not. It's a very basic right as a consumer," said Leah Segedie, founder of BookieBoo, Mamavation, and a volunteer working with the California Right to Know campaign.

California is the state where laws are born and then sweep the nation. Next week, California has proposition 37 on the ballot. A vote of yes on prop 37 would require any foods containing GMOs to be labeled. No companies have to shut down, change their formulas, or even gather resources from a different farmer. They simply would have to label their product accurately and give the consumer fair information and the freedom to choose. That sounds like the American Constitution, doesn't it? "Right to choose?"

Segedie thinks so. "As the debate on whether genetically modified foods are safe roars on, we would like to give Californians a choice to opt-in or opt-out of purchasing GMOs. Choices are American. Unfortunately, we do not have the same choices as others countries do. More than 50 countries, including Russia, China and all of Europe, currently have labeling laws. And the reason they do is because GMOs have not been proven safe yet. I believe we should have those same rights here. We are American, after all."

If you're in California, make sure you vote for your right to choose and vote "Yes on 37" next week.

If you still need more information about GMOs before casting your ballot, check out these resources:

7 Facts About GMOs to Convince You to Vote Yes on 37

Major Organic Brands, Like Kashi and Naked, Funding Anti-GMO Labeling Campaigns

What is a GMO?

5 Non-GMO Halloween Treats

Celebrities Support GMO Labeling

Possible Side Effects of GMOs

Genetic Roulette Documentary by Jeffrey Smith

Gary from Stonyfield Interview with Bill Maher