Organic leaders urge support for Prop 37
Describe GM food labeling initiative as “of, by, and for the people”

By Ken Roseboro
Published: October 1, 2012

Category: GM Food Labeling and Regulations

Organic leaders urge support for Prop 37

From left: Laura Batcha, Elizabeth Kucinich, Grant Lundberg, Arran Stephens, Gary Hirshberg, and David Murphy

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Organic food industry leaders are urging support for California’s GM food labeling initiative Proposition 37. Speaking at the Organic Summit held recently in Baltimore, leaders of Stonyfield Farm, Lundberg Family Farms, and Nature’s Path Foods emphasized the importance of supporting Prop 37.

Prop 37 is “the game between now and the election”

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm and Just Label It, blasted the biotechnology industry. “GMOs have nothing to do with feeding the world and everything to do with selling herbicides.”

Hirshberg said conventional food manufacturers have “drunk the Kool Aid” on the empty promises of GMOs and described their opposition to labeling and Prop 37 as “most foolish branding strategy in history.”

He said there is no demand for GM foods. “Consumers are not asking us to put more (GM) bovine growth hormones in our milk or GMOs in grains.”

The Just Label It initiative generated 1.3 million public comments supporting a petition to the US Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of GM foods.

Hirshberg predicted that the government would hold hearings on the economic impacts of GM food labeling if Just Label It generates two or three million public comments.

He has discussed labeling with President Obama, First Lady Michelle, and cabinet members. “We have more clout than you can imagine,” he said.

Prop 37 has elevated the debate over labeling to the national level. “The game between now and the election is Proposition 37. It’s very important,” Hirshberg said.

Get with consumers and public on this”

Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms, emphasized that Prop 37 is a citizens’ initiative. “This is the voters of California behind this; it’s not the food retailers or manufacturers. Voters are disgusted with the government on this issue.”

Lundberg said he was having good meetings with editorial boards at California newspapers to help educate them about Prop 37.

He said the California Democratic party supports Prop 37. “Their reaction is ‘people want this, how can we be against it?’”

Lundberg said the opposition has raised $35 million to defeat Prop 37 while supporters have raised $3.8.

He urged industry leaders to support Prop 37. “This is a great opportunity for industry to join with the public on this.”

Should we let them play God with our food?”

Arran Stephens, CEO of Nature’s Path Organic Foods, described how he became aware of the dangers of GM foods and the threat they pose to organics. “There is no wall high enough to keep GMOs out (of organics). Should we let them play God with our food?” he said.

He emphasized that people have the right to know what’s in their food through labeling.

Speaking about Prop 37, Stephens said: “Pamm Larry (main organizer of Prop 37) initiated a game changer in California.”

He described Prop 37 as the cause to be supporting. “This is our time to support it. If not us who? It’s time to get off the fence and donate so we can overcome the onslaught of negative ads,” he said.

Stevens and Hirshberg both said that Prop 37 is a sign of democracy in action. “This reminds the government that this is an initiative of, by, and for the people.”

David Murphy, executive director, Food Democracy Now, said Prop 37 is “D-Day for the food movement” and urged everyone’s support.

“Join us in California, and we will take this labeling battle to Washington, DC,” he said.

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, October 2012