Proposition 37: Say No to the Trial Lawyers

Meuser is opposed to Proposition 37. Meuser believes that passage of Proposition 37 will unnecessarily increase food costs on all Californians.

The reason why California has some of the highest priced gas in the nation is because of the special blend of gasoline the state requires.  Passing Proposition 37 will have the same impact on the price of food.  Food will cost more in this state because we are the only state to require special labeling laws. Those corporations which are required to comply with the new labeling requirements will simply pass those costs on to the consumer in this state. As such, the price of our food will go up.

With this initiative, we are going to put our farmers at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign competitors.  Under the plain language of this proposition, food manufacturers from another country simply need to say that their product does not contain any genetically engineered food and they are not bound by the special labeling requirements. Meanwhile, any food manufacturer who has its base in the United States will be required to dot countless “i’s” and cross countless “t’s” in order to prove that there are no genetically engineered foods in their products.  

Furthermore, the exemptions to this initiative are quite numerous.  For instance: milk, cheese, and meat from animals fed genetically engineered feed are exempt.  Beer, wine, liquor and food sold at restaurants are also exempt. Almost two-thirds of the foods consumed by Californians are exempt, including products sold by the corporations sponsoring Proposition 37. 

Proposition 37 is one of the more contentious initiatives this fall.  Its theme is that “We all have a right to know.” This assumes that consumers are kept in the dark and purposely uninformed concerning the food they buy. While there are some who believe that genetically engineered foods are bad for you and should be labeled, the problem with this law is that it throws the baby out with the bathwater. It is a well-established fact that many genetically engineered foods have no consequences to your health.

One argument behind Proposition 37 is that organically grown food is more nutritious or safe than genetically engineered foods.  There is no empirical evidence to support this idea. In fact, numerous studies have shown that conventional and organic foods are equally nutritious. 

Major crops like corn and soy beans have been utilizing genetically engineered seeds for twenty years.  These two major grains and their products are the most commonly used ingredients for the processed food industry. It will be extremely difficult for food processors to substitute ingredients that are free of genetic engineering. The only way to guarantee an avoidance of genetically engineered food is to buy organic food.

The organic food industry is very much alive and well in California.  The grocery chain Whole Foods’ main claim to fame is that it has the largest selection of organic fresh fruits and vegetables.  Not to stand idly by, Safeway, Lucky, Trader Joe’s and others all have extensive selections of organic foods for the discerning shopper.  Most grocery stores feature organic foods but also maintain a large selection of non-organic food.  The consumer already has a choice so we do not need more regulation to add to the already costly price of food.

The biggest winners in this proposition are the lawyers.  The proposition was written by trial lawyers so that they will have an easy path to victory in court.  Normally, damages have to be proven in order for someone to win.  With the new rules, the lawyers do not even have to show damages in order to win.  This initiative allows family farmers and grocers to be sued without any proof of harm.  This is why a new class of “shakedown lawsuits” will now be legalized.

My position is to vote “NO” on Proposition 37.  The list of exemptions makes the rules ineffective and panders to special interests. The special labeling will only increase the cost of food and open the door to litigation against family farmers and grocers.  Another layer of government will only add to the cost of food.  The costs are very high and Proposition 37’s largest financial backer admits it “would be an expensive logistical nightmare.”  The so called benefits pale in comparison to the costs.

Mark Meuser is a candidate for State Senate District 7. You can follow him on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dan Perkins October 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Google did no such thing!
Californicated1 October 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
And who are these "paid shills"?
Tom October 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
@KFrances. Who here is a paid shill. Please identify who fits into this catagory and your evidense to that end, so we can consider your logic when looking at the rest of your points here Thanks.
Voter with an ID October 16, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Be aware of enviro nuts and anti capitalists on these blogs advocating for food you will no longer be able to afford. Reminds me of the zealots who kept screaming that 'organic food' was more nutrious for you. That turned out to be BS too.
Kevin Gove October 16, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I believe we have a right to know what is in our food. I'm voting yes. How many people would pay a little extra if you knew the hamburger you were buying didn't contain pink slime. Mark's arguments do not address the fundamental issue which to me is about making an informed choice.
Tom October 16, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Please answer who are the paid shills here and where is the evidence so we can understand your logic. Thank you.
KFrances October 16, 2012 at 05:12 AM
'Astroturfing' through Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk Legal and Propoganda Company MB Public Affairs and other Marketing and PR PROPOGANDA firms: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/big-tobacco-shills-trying-to-stop-gmo-labeling-in-california_b_1773772.html The Military industrial Pharmceutical Agribusiness Complex sees humans as a commodity and businesses are increasingly protected by the Public Private Partnership (PPP). Total of 30 Million+ spent by sneaky Monsanto and other companies. Examples of lying corruption: http://www.stanforddaily.com/2012/10/07/university-objects-to-no-on-37-ad-implying-stanford-endorsement/ and who's funding each side: http://www.kcet.org/news/ballotbrief/elections2012/propositions/prop-37-funding-genetically-engineered-food.html more on the PR (Propoganda) and Legal (Propoganda) of Prop. 37. http://www.carighttoknow.org/ddt_agent_orange_gmos_and_you and this explains Herlooms, Hybrids and GMO's : http://www.kcet.org/socal/food/prop-37/heirlooms-hybrids-and-gmos.html People just want to know what's in their food. Profiteers are just - that - Profiteers - and the world doesn't want to be polluted by GE foods. ie. Ireland Potatoe and African small farms & on & on & on. Pesticide use has increased with GM Crops...hmmm: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002 YES ON 37.
Californicated1 October 16, 2012 at 05:34 AM
@KFrances, We've been waiting over 6 hours since you mentioned that there were "paid shills" posting here. You wouldn't mind disclosing who they are, would you?
KFrances October 16, 2012 at 05:56 AM
The Porpoganda Companies listed above know who is paid to troll blogs - thye have the motivation - money. Yes on 37 just want to know what they are eating - pretty basic. Some GE Crops are designed to not re-seed, need more water, and royalties must be paid to Monsanto. Sounds way more expensive in many ways.
Californicated1 October 16, 2012 at 06:13 AM
@KFrances, You actually mentioned that there were "paid shills" posting here in your posting of 04:17 pm on Monday, October 15, 2012 up above. Specifically, who are they? Start naming names so that we all know who they are. Otherwise, your accusation here is groundless and everything else you post may be equally groundless and I and possibly a few other posters here will suspect that it may not be truthful. So if you know that there are "paid shills" here, start identifying them or withdraw your claim that there are "paid shills" posting here in this particular discussion thread. I may not be a friend of anybody on either side of the political fence, but at the same time, I don't like liars, either, from any side of any political discussion.
Californicated1 October 16, 2012 at 06:17 AM
The truth's been abused here, too, @KFrances. Start naming who is a "paid shill" posting here in this discussion thread or withdraw your claim that there are "paid shills" posting here.
Californicated1 October 16, 2012 at 06:33 AM
@KFrances, here is what you posted at 4:17 pm on Monday, October 15, 2012: "Be aware of paid shills on these blogs trying to tell you Genetically Engineered Food is just fine." Now, if you suspect that some here is a "paid shill" come forward with your accusation. Otherwise, withdraw your claim. The longer you let this go on, the worse it gets for you, because nobody will trust what you post.
KFrances October 16, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Trying to delete my posts but only option is 'flag as innapproriate' so I did - and they should be down by tomorrow. I did mean these types of blogs, not this blog specifically. I'm not sure how soemone could know if there is a shill blogging or not - I guess that is always a possibility.
KFrances October 17, 2012 at 11:10 PM
also...I would just say investigate shills and Monsanto's history... as well as how they plan to receive a royalty every year for every seed purchased as they propogate 'terminator seeds' that never re-seed, destroying small farmers globally.
Larry November 05, 2012 at 06:05 PM
OMG. More misinformation being spouted by politicians and chem-agri companies that unfortunately are onl looking out for themselves. Prop 37 will not raise the cost to consumers. In the over 60 countries that require labeling, there has been no cost increases to the consumer. Companies change their labels constantly - it is a cost of doing business. THose companies affected by this will have 18 months (!) to add their labels. Trial lawyers had nothing to do with the writing of this ballot measure. Please. The only lawyers who will see action are those of the Monsanto's, Dow's and junk food companies. I can go on and on about why Prop 37 is the correct way to go.
Larry November 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
No, Californicated, you are incorrect about what genetically modified organisms are. Yes, fruits and veggies have been crossed but these aren't GMOs. GMOSs are literally reestablishing or altering the DNA of the food - such as adding pesticide to a corn's DNA so that when it grows, each cell will have that pesticide in ti and wil therefore be Roundup tolerant.
Larry November 05, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Prop 37 was not written by trial lawyers. It was written by individuals, farmers, and reviewed by lawyers to make sure it was set up properly. This was in no way written by trial lawyers for their own benefit. Give me a break. And who do you think the opponents are? Don't you think they are look ing out for themselves and not the consumers?
Tom November 05, 2012 at 06:17 PM
If we are to do this it should be an FDA not a state process. We the unwise people of ca have our own gas fomula that costs us dearly because we are not a state that values fiscal matters. I could get onboard with a federal policy but california is insane when it come to managing anything.
Larry November 05, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I should also clear up the whole beef and dog food labeling confusion created by the NO campaign. Beef for consumers or dogs would require a label if the cow has been genetically modified. So in general the beef we eat will probably not be labeled because the cow hasn't been modified. Dog food would require a label because of OTHER genetically modified content, such as corn or soy. NOT because of the beef.
Larry November 05, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Tom - understood. However, it won't happen at a federal level because the agri-chem companies won't let it. That's why it has to happen here first and at the grassroots level.
Venerable Bede November 05, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Sorry Larry, but this prop was written by trial lawyers- one in particular: Jim Wheaton. http://www.whoisbehindprop37.com/ Prop 37 would allow for lawsuits to be filed by individuals against food companies without evidence of GMOs be present in food; this is no different than the wasteful Prop. 65 lawsuits (also one of Jim Wheaton's specialties). On the labeling aspect, those countries require labeling for products containing 5% or more; Prop 37 would set that level at 0 or above. Couple that with the threat of lawsuits, this will cause prices to rise as food companies have to respond to frivolous lawsuits that will arise if this prop passes. Finally, let's all remember that GMOs provide unquantifiable benefits to humanity. just 2 examples: Crop acreage has increased as crops are modified to grow in a variety of conditions and crops have been modified to include higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, so diets can be improved. Science is benefiting food production to the benefit of all.
Californicated1 November 05, 2012 at 07:51 PM
"Larry", even you are "genetically modified", just like your food is these days, and just like the rest of us. How did we all get that way? It is because of the traits that our parents and sometimes even their families sought out. Trying to specify which part of "genetic modification" without examining the rest of it is not going to work. Ever since the first farmers out there bred their livestock and grew their produce, they have always been genetically modifying their product so that you have docile animals that can grow big with a little fat so that they could get more meat and more money for their efforts. And when it came to their produce, they were splicing and mixing up their plants to find the most hearty strains out there, that could survive both a Russian winter and even a winter out in the North American plains while getting the greatest yield so that the person growing it made more money for their efforts. The problem that some people have is that they don't want "mutated food", but the reality is quite different, where people on this planet have been growing, breeding and even feasting on food that has been mutated, modified and even completely changed from how it grew in the wilds some 9,000 years ago. So once again, when it comes to the delineation of what is "genetically modified" and what isn't, the line is blurry, because after 9,000 years of agriculture, we have been feasting pretty much on genetically modified foods to begin with.
Steve Cohn November 05, 2012 at 08:46 PM
There are all kinds of "good things" that have unintended consequences. People wanting to know what they are putting into their bodies is not an unreasonable demand. If a food has some GMO materials in it, why should it be a secret if these are harmless or people are willing to take the risk (because they are less expensive)? If a manufacturer discloses it, he's not going to get sued for telling the truth. People might not buy his product but that's the whole point. It gives people the ability to make an informed decision. If enough do not buy the product then maybe the product should not be produced.
Californicated1 November 05, 2012 at 09:22 PM
But ALL the food you eat these days has been modified, including genetically, which has been going on long before Gregor Mendel postulated his theories and discovered that there is something out there called "genetics", which has been practiced not only on food as long as there has been agriculture, but as long as there have been parents and children being born on this planet. Believe it or not, "Natural Selection" as even Darwin postulated it, is a genetic process and it is genetic modification. The problem here is that the wording in Proposition is just bad law when you get right down to it and if it passes, you may find a "who's who" of attorneys, law firms and even their clients out there seeking an injunction while the courts presiding over these cases decides on what is legal and what is not. And when it comes to genetic manipulation or even "modification", the question here is what is the difference between breeding two different species of bees out there to get more honey and modifying the genetic code in a sequence of DNA in a test tube? Both of those processes are genetic manipulation and/or modification when you get right down to it. And if the genetic modification issue gets settled here, what's to stop people from making similar laws about how to genetically modify people out there, which has been going on ever since Homo Habilis started walking upright when people selected their mates and sometimes their children's mates in the family?
Larry November 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Sorry oh Venerable One, ultimately GMOs have not done much good for anyone except for the chemical companies that created them. Sure, there is far more corn than we need now and some overseas people get to eat this, but at what cost? There is far more pesticide required to kill off the mutated weeds and superbugs that have resulted from much of these GMO crops. THere is a reason why so many countries have either banned them or require labels - these plants carry chemicals in their DNA that our bodies are not meant to injest, plus growing these plants is very clearly damaging the environment.
Chris J Kapsalis November 05, 2012 at 09:48 PM
This entire watershed has been soaked with Roundup for years. And we have a healtheir creek than in the 1970's and 80's. I know, I live on the creek. I am only judging on life I see int he creek. Way more now, even BEavers. Crawdads. Turtles. Fish. And I know a lot of the people in Franklyn canyon and Alhambra valley who used roundup and use it to keep weeds in countrol. However, I am probably voting yes on 37 for other reasons.
Chris J Kapsalis November 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
It is a start to help so called "Organic" farmers have a level playing field. They have higher growing costs. There are problems with it though. Enforcement? Adhearence? People will cheat. You know they will.
lamorinda mom November 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
A scientist in a multimillion dollar lab altering DNA is NOT the same as two corn plants cross-pollinating. That analogy might work on someone who has never taken a biology class.
Steve Cohn November 05, 2012 at 11:22 PM
There is a different between a hybrid food and a GMO food. The hybrid food is a cross between two species, both of which have been consumed by humans for centuries with no ill effects, to blend the properties of the two. This is "forced" genetic mutation. GMO foods have been engineered to have very specific traits and have been around for such a short time no one really knows what their long term effects are. Here is a description of some GMO corn: " Bt corn is a variant of maize, genetically altered to express the bacterial Bt toxin, which is poisonous to insect pests. In the case of corn, the pest is the European corn borer. Over the past couple years they have added traits against Corn ear worm, and Root worm." Would you eat something that is poisonous to insect pests without washing it? You can't "wash out" a gene. One of the reasons the Romans were so successful is that they learned to "control" water and have it work for them with their aqueducts and, yes, lead pipes. People did not just drop dead overnight from drinking water from lead pipes. It took years and even generations. Are you feeling lucky?
KFrances November 06, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Monsanto's 'Terminator Seeds' are enough for me to vote YES on 37 - !


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