California Proposition 37,  Joseph Mercola

California Proposition 37 Any Way to Enact Food Labeling Law? – No!

Joseph Mercola

“Doctor” Joseph Mercola on the Left who has donated at least $1.1 million to support California Proposition 37

The Los Angeles Times this morning and “LEFTY” Sockpuppet writer Michael Hiltzik, no less, have a piece up decrying California Proposition 37.

You remember the issue, right?

From the Times:

Love it or hate it, the one thing you can say for sure about California’s ballot initiative process is that it’s the absolute worst way to craft policy dealing with complex scientific issues.

That doesn’t stop advocates on one side or another from constantly trying, with the result that the public’s understanding of the underlying facts plummets faster than you can say, well, “Proposition 37.”

Proposition 37 is on November’s ballot. The measure would require some, but not all, food sold in California and produced via genetic engineering to be labeled as such. (There are exemptions for milk, restaurant food and other products.)

Genetic engineering, or genetic modification, which involves manipulating DNA or transferring it from one species to another, is increasingly common in agriculture and food processing, and wouldn’t be banned or even regulated by the measure. Genetic engineering has pluses and minuses. It can increase crop yields and pest resistance. But it can also affect the environment in negative ways — pollen or seeds from genetically engineered crops can be spread by wind, birds or insects to territory where they’re unwanted, for example.

Once you’ve said that, you’ve said pretty much everything that’s known to be relevant to Proposition 37. The rest is baloney, of the non-genetically engineered variety.

It includes more information on the health nut, Dr. Joseph Mercola which is seen on television trying to persuade people to treat cancer with an eggplant extract which he hawks:

More from the Los Angeles Times:

Something else voters should be aware of is who’s backing Proposition 37. The biggest donor is Joseph Mercola, who with his companies has contributed at least $1.1 million so far. The smooth-talking Mercola’s Chicago-area company and clinic make millions from hawking “organic” nostrums and casting doubt on medical science. He’s attracted regulatory warnings from the FDA on three occasions, most recently for touting thermography as an alternative to mammograms for breast-cancer screening. Medical science regards this as dangerous advice because thermograms aren’t effective in identifying many tumors, while early detection via mammograms has saved the lives of millions of women. A Mercola spokesman says he has “worked with the FDA to resolve all concerns.”

Mercola also backs a campaign against child vaccination, and not only promotes sun exposure as a health benefit but also conveniently sells tanning beds and booths on his website for as much as $3,999.

The Proposition 37 campaign manager, Gary Ruskin, disputed the relevance of Mercola’s background to the push for the initiative. “We don’t endorse everything our supporters say,” he told me.

Sorry, that won’t do. Mercola isn’t just any backer of Proposition 37; he’s the biggest donor, and one who has built his business around some of the scare claims inherent in an anti-genetic engineering initiative. Moreover, he didn’t just write a check — he was solicited to contribute in February by Doug Linney, then the initiative’s campaign manager, who could not have been unaware of Mercola’s history.

The campaign’s founding organizer, Ruskin says, is Pamm Larry, 56, a Chico business owner and organic farmer who says she began traveling the state earlier this year on her own to drum up interest in a ballot measure.

Larry has appeared in a promotional video with Mercola and clearly has been deeply influenced by him. “I really admire the man and very much admire his integrity,” she says. She has bought into Mercola’s depiction of the FDA as a wickedly ineffective bully — she praises him for “standing up” to the agency over mammograms — but her grasp of the facts is poor.

“The FDA approved thalidomide!” she informed me during a brief interview, referring to the morning-sickness drug that produced an epidemic of birth defects in the 1950s and 1960s. Well, no. The FDA banned thalidomide, sparing the U.S. from the worst of the disaster. Meanwhile, she seems to think Mercola’s interest in Proposition 37 is entirely altruistic, despite his multimillion-dollar “natural” products empire.

Read all of the rest of the piece and you will agree with me that California Proposition 37 is a shame, devoid of the science that it touts and is just a BAD law.

Vote NO on California Proposition 37!


  • Fond of Complex Analysis

    I’m glad you’re encouraging further reading, but I think you’ve framed the piece as one-sided. Yes, Commander Eggplant was a highlight, but his influence over the issue is relatively limited when stacked against the 30 million dollars raised by corporate food producers looking to kill this thing. What I find fascinating is that, when you read the lists of major contributors to both sides there is not a single individual who has stood up and said, “This is a bad thing, and I’m backing up my words with a large financial contribution,” and those lists count a major contributor as someone who volunteers as little as $165. It’s all large scale food producers looking to maintain their profits at the expense of information being available to the public. The article you’ve linked even states that the economic study the food producers paid for to find out what sort of damage labeling GMO’s would do was inconclusive at best.

    In my experience, there is little that can trump the power of money in our system. However the fact that the “yes” campaign is still standing in the face of corporate donations that dwarf its own political war-chest shows that if this proposition passes it will be driven by a cultural change that exceeds any amount of money thrown at the problem. The idea that GMO foods are not as good as things without the interference of genetic science is a permanent installation within the framework of our present culture. It is the way we seem to know the world and its interesting that the GMO-producers would rather keep silent on the issue than fight it with an information campaign the way medical organization might when it comes to misconceptions about disease.

    As an aside, does it concern you at all that you, your children, and your children’s children might be consuming corn, soy, and other plant-matter that has been genetically altered to produce its own pesticides? How about beef or chicken grown with steroids? Are you entirely comfortable that an entity that seeks profit above all else is the one assuring you it is totally safe? If you had a choice in the supermarket between a can of corn that was labeled “genetically modified organism” and one that read “organic” or “natural”, which you would you buy? Again, these aren’t rhetorical questions, these are moral queries to which we must all respond.