No on California Proposition 37 Say Three Southern California Newspapers

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No on 37 radio ad California Proposition 37 Up in Polls, But...

Well, if you do not accept my arguments to vote against California Proposition 37, how about those from three large Southern California newspaper editorial boards?

San Diego Union Tribune: Prop. 37 no way to address an important issue

Should genetically modified food be labeled and face more thorough regulation? That is a completely valid question, one that should be the focus of congressional hearings and possible federal legislation.

It is not, however, an issue that should be addressed via a weakly crafted state ballot proposition whose leading donor appears to stand to gain from its passage. We refer, of course, to Proposition 37. Its biggest backer is businessman Joseph Mercola, who runs the “world’s No. 1 natural health website.” Mercola doesn’t just sell a wide range of organic products. He is also a critic of child vaccinations, mammograms and other fundamental tools of medical science.

But Mercola’s key role in advocating the measure is not the prime reason to oppose it. Instead, we agree with the persuasive argument made by Tyler Cowen, the George Mason University economist and New York Times columnist: Proposition 37 “is full of bad ideas and questionable distinctions” and places such a burden on small farmers and retailers that it could kill them off. Cowen also believes, as we do, that the measure has some hard-to-fathom loopholes and could spawn a wave of costly lawsuits.

Proposition 37 may have some value in bringing attention to genetically modified foods and the somewhat laissez faire way with which the U.S. government has monitored their arrival in grocery stores. But it is not good legislation, and we urge its rejection.

Orange County Register: Editorial: No on Prop. 37 (food labeling)

Information about the food we eat ought to be readily available and accessible to consumers but Proposition 37 is not the right approach to achieving that outcome. Voters should reject it.

Prop. 37 would require labeling of foods that have been genetically modified. Backers believe that consumers are entitled to know about what is in their food and as such, government should demand labeling. While we would encourage the utmost disclosure especially as it pertains to food, we recognize that information comes at a cost and is best parsed in the marketplace, not with a coercive mandate. And in the case of this particular mandate, its vagueness opens the door to far too many unintended consequences.

Voters should be concerned that Prop. 37 would likely spawn waves of lawsuits, with the litigation and enforcement costs passed on to grocers and the consumers. The initiative’s language invites abuse, as a retailer “generally must be able to document why the product is exempt from labeling.” Prop. 37, according to the state’s independent Legislative Analyst, allows plaintiffs lawyers “to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.”

Tom Scott, Executive Director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, charged that Prop. 37 would “allow anyone to sue small businesses and family farmers without any proof of a violation or damages.” He is concerned it would propagate “shakedown lawsuits.” We share his concern.

Berkeley attorney James Wheaton, Prop. 37’s author, has made a career of filing lawsuits enabled by Prop. 65. Enacted by voters in 1986, Prop. 65 required disclosure of hazardous chemicals. You’ve probably seen signs in public buildings warning that something on the premises is “known to the state of California to cause cancer.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Prop. 65 has spawned “16,000 legal actions – some legitimate, some designed to force business to settle quickly to avoid litigation costs.” Prop. 37 goes a step further. Even the minor checks in Prop. 65, like allowing the state attorney general to review lawsuits for excesses, are eliminated from Prop. 37.

What’s more, trillions of servings of “genetically modified organism” foods have been served up worldwide; and we’ve yet to see significant evidence of harm. The American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, among many others, deny that GMOs are bad for health, to date.

Were Prop. 37 to pass, the effect would be similar to what happens at the gasoline pump, where oil companies produce a California-specific fuel, which artificially drives up the overall price and acts as de facto protectionism. A California-only market for food reduces the food supply and food choices. And moreover,there are no exemptions for small grocers, but plenty for restaurants and alcohol sellers . That’s selective enforcement.

We like a California that makes room for all choices, from Walmart to Whole Foods, and allows consumers to choose what they chew and producers to be free to sell products their customers demand. Disclosure of GMOs isn’t a bad idea, and we would encourage retailers to do so voluntarily, but Prop. 37 is the wrong approach.

Vote No on Prop. 37.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise: ELECTION: No on 37

Capricious rules and endless litigation are not consumer protection. Prop. 37 counts on a superficially appealing premise to distract voters from the practical quagmire beneath it. Californians should see this poorly conceived mess for what it is, and reject Prop. 37.

Prop. 37 on the November ballot would impose new labeling requirements on some food made from genetically engineered ingredients. Stores would have to mark such food as produced with genetic engineering, either on package labels or on store shelves.

Foods modified through genetic science are no longer a rarity. In 2011, genetically engineered seeds produced 88 percent of all corn and 94 percent of all soybeans in the United States. The state’s legislative analyst estimates that 40 to 70 percent of food products sold in California grocery stores have some genetically engineered ingredients.

Prop. 37’s promise of giving consumers better information about food has a surface appeal — until consumers dig deeper into the details of this measure. Prop. 37 would apply a new mandate in arbitrary and burdensome ways that would undermine whatever good it purports to accomplish.

The measure, for example, would exempt some foods from the labeling requirements for no discernible reason. Meat from animals that had not been genetically modified would not need the new labels, even if those animals ate genetically engineered feed. Restaurants could serve genetically altered food without any restrictions, even if the same products would require the new labels in grocery stores. And the measure would appear to prohibit food from being marked as “all natural” or “naturally grown” simply for being milled, frozen or otherwise processed — even if the food has no genetically engineered ingredients. So much for providing consumers with clarity.

Prop. 37 would also swamp the food industry in new paperwork. Retailers would be responsible for labeling food correctly — and would have to provide documentation that any food not marked as genetically engineered is exempt from the law. Farmers, food processors and others in the industry might also have to keep such records.

And punctilious record-keeping would be necessary, because the measure would allow private citizens to enforce the law by suing over any labels they suspect are incorrect. Plaintiffs could sue regardless of whether the supposed violation caused any harm — a clear invitation to abuse. A raft of nuisance lawsuits over minor food identification errors would hardly improve California’s already tough business climate.

Common sense says Prop. 37’s demanding requirements, along with the threat of opportunistic lawyers, would likely drive up food prices. Yet the measure would provide consumers with neither reliable information nor real protection.

Prop. 37 is the wrong approach to addressing the merits or dangers of genetically engineered food. Whatever its intent, this badly written, logically muddled initiative stands to do more mischief than good. Voters have no need to create incoherent policy at the ballot box, and should vote no on Prop. 37.

Join me and many Californians – Vote No on Proposition 37.

California Proposition 37 Up in Polls, But…

Posted 17 CommentsPosted in California Proposition 37

No on 37 radio ad NO on California Proposition 37 Launches Statewide Radio Ads

California Proposition 37, the food labeling initiative is up in the latest poll, but there is a big caveat.

By more than a 2-to-1 margin, California voters favor an initiative to require food manufacturers and retailers to label fresh produce and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

With less than six weeks until election day, Proposition 37 is supported by 61% of registered voters and opposed by 25%, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. An additional 14% were undecided or refused to answer.

The poll showed broad support among voter groups, but the interviews took place before Tuesday’s start of a major television advertising blitz by opponents aimed at changing voters’ minds on the issue.

The BIG BUT is that effected food manufacturers have started a multi-million dollar television ad campaign.

Most Californians will say, well, what will labeling harm?

But, what they don’t understand is that the initiative is a scheme for certain special interests and will push the cost of their food up.

When, they get the message – Prop 37 will fail.

NO on California Proposition 37 Launches Statewide Radio Ads

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in California Proposition 37

No on California Proposition 37The California Proposition 37 media campaign has begun.

From the press release:

The No on 37 campaign today launched its first statewide radio ad which highlights the many flaws and costs of Prop 37. In particular, the radio spot points out that Prop 37 was written by trial lawyers for the benefit of trial lawyers, and that it would add more government bureaucracy and red tape that will increase costs to taxpayers and consumers.

“Proposition 37 is not a simple measure, despite what proponents claim,” said Jamie Johansson, an Oroville farmer who grows olives to make olive oil. Mr. Johansson also is second vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.. “It’s a deceptive, special-interest measure that will have far-reaching negative consequences on consumers, taxpayers, farmers, grocers, small businesses and every Californian.”

The Sacramento Bee identified similar problems when it urged a NO vote on Prop. 37 on Sunday, saying, Prop. 37 is “… an overreach, is ambiguous, and would open the way for countless lawsuits against retailers who sell food that might lack the proper labeling.”
“Prop. 37 is about the right to sue,” said Ronald K. Fong, president, California Grocers Association. “And when it is time to sue, grocery retailers will be at the head of the line to get hit with a lawsuit. Lawyers need no proof, no damages prior to filing the lawsuit. H ow is that good policy? Consumers don’t benefit from shakedown lawsuits, the only group Prop. 37 benefits is trial lawyers.”

The radio ad, beginning Monday, will air statewide.

Here is the ad:


The latest polls I saw had Proposition 37 passing by a wide margin, but are California voters apt to vote yes when these ads run?

I am positive in the next few weeks, as early and absentee voting starts in California, the No on Proposition 37 folks will also go on television.

Stay tuned…..

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

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in California Proposition 37, Joseph Mercola

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!

Ventura County Star Says No On California Proposition 37

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in California Proposition 37

No on 37 New Economic Study Says Proposition 37 Would Greatly Increase California Food Costs

No on California Proposition 37 website

Even the Left-leaning Ventura County Star newspaper says No on California Proposition 37.

Proposition 37 is a good example of something that doesn’t belong on the ballot. It asks voters to pass a state law about labeling foods with ingredients from genetically modified crops.

Let’s get real: Only a relative handful of voters are in a position to make an informed decision on such a complicated, technical subject. For that reason and more, The Star recommends voting no on Proposition 37 in the Nov. 6 election. (…)

Supporters of Proposition 37 claim it would give consumers more information about what they eat and would foster transparency and trust in the food system. We think they’re mistaken on both counts. Such a law would create mistrust and confusion about the foods that Californians eat.

The Star recommends a no vote on Proposition 37.

Prop. 37 is a bad law, supported by special interests that plan to benefit financially in the name of food labeling disclosure. It is a SHAM.

Vote NO on California Proposition 37.

New Economic Study Says Proposition 37 Would Greatly Increase California Food Costs

Posted 1 CommentPosted in California Proposition 37

No on 37 California Court Rejects Yes on Proposition 37 Lawsuit

As if, the California economy needs another drag on its recovery. Here is the study (pdf file).

The Genetically Engineered Foods Mandatory Labeling Initiative (A.G. File No. 11-0099 – hereinafter the Initiative) would have a substantial impact on California consumers.

The Initiative would change how many of the foods they eat are produced and would make that food more expensive. At the same time, however, the Initiative would provide relatively little by way of consistent and useful information to consumers because of the loopholes and exceptions in its language and the uneven ways in which it would apply to the same food consumed in different settings.

The key provisions of the Initiative require that foods purchased for at-home consumption must be labeled “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” if the food contains at least 0.5 percent (by weight) of a genetically modified ingredient. The threshold level drops to 0 percent in 2019.

The Initiative also bars the use of the word “natural” in packaging or advertisements for virtually all foods, regardless of whether they include genetically engineered ingredients.

The Initiative contains many exemptions, creating a patchwork of labeling requirements for foods in which some foods consumed at home might require a label, but the same food eaten in a restaurant would not. Under the Initiative, the following are exempt from labeling, regardless of whether or not they contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients:

  • Foods certified as organic
  • Foods consisting of or derived entirely from animals, regardless of whether the animal has been fed GE feed or injected with GE drugs
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Foods eaten away from home
  • Food made using GE processing aids or enzymes.

The wide range of exemptions means that consumers could still purchase and consume a wide range of foods made from or containing GE ingredients, but that would not be subject to labeling under the Initiative. The potential therefore exists for bizarre inconsistencies where identical products consumed at home and in a school cafeteria would be required to have a label in the first instance, but not in the second. The way in which the Initiative is drafted opens the possibility for a wide range of absurd outcomes regarding what is and is not subject to labeling.

It is one thing about disclosure about what is in your food, but it is another, about a poorly written initiative that has not been subjected to legislative scrutiny in the California Legislature.

Also, what is this initiative doing besides unnecessarily driving up food costs without providing any benefit except to certain special interest “organic” farmers and trial lawyers?

Vote No on Proposition 37.