Social Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

Californians: Are you voting yes or no on Prop 37?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4349 points ) October 19th, 2012

I just saw an ad where medical doctors are supposedly against 37. I actually believe citizens have a right to know wether or not their food is natural and organic vs genetically modified.

Another question, does genetically modified foods damage ones health?

“On the November ballot is Proposition 37, which would require genetically modified food sold in California to carry a label saying so.”

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73 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I haven’t studied the ballots yet, but my first instinct is to vote No.

JLeslie's avatar

What qualifies as genetically modified? Does it include things like honey crisp apples which are one of the best man made creations in the history of screwing around with fruit hybrids?

Unbroken's avatar

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/27/19-studies-link-gmo-foods-to-organ-disruption.aspx

I would vote yes. But then I have health issues linked to food. I am biased.
@JLeslie it is not clear to me whether the blending of crops would fall under labeling laws. But if so it would merely be required that these products are labeled not removed. I am more concerned with round up ready crops etc.

Judi's avatar

I’m voting yes. Follow the money. Look at who is opposing it. (It’s not doctors.) I’m sure Monsanto is paying for most of those confusing commercials. All the law says is that they must disclose. What don’t they want us to know?

Rarebear's avatar

Medical doctors are voting no because they actually understand science.

Unbroken's avatar

Medical doctors know nothing about nutrition. @Judi yes the people opposing it have the most to lose should be accepted.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@Rarebear However, wouldn’t it be in medical doctors best interest to keep the public misinformed and stuck on “cheap” foods that may contribute to sickness, or perhaps not even the medical doctors, but the CEO’s of the prime time hospitals?

I’m not trying to be a conspiracist but from a business stand point, I’d want the public to be ignorant about GMO’s.

Sunny2's avatar

No, It’s poorly thought out and written. What they have included and not included is not logical. Does it include fruit from trees that have been grafted? Grains that have been modified to provide assistance to withstand drought and disease? Meat that has been bred to have less fat? The concept of informing the public is fine, but this law needs revision before being put before the voters. It was rushed to the ballot without being clearly considered.

Unbroken's avatar

@Whitetigress I wish I had a rebuttal. My life is dictated by ingredients lists improper labeling and places it is safe for me to eat not including BBQ’s any get together that involves food.
It doesn’t seem to be the best piece of legislation but it is a place to start. Fifty countries require labeling of gmo’s its not like this is new. Companies could label voluntary but they don’t, it’s not in their best interest but it is in mine the consumer. I have had to do extensive self educating making so many mistakes on the way and paying for them, couldn’t we make it easier on the next person.

Unbroken's avatar

Oops I meant @Sunny2 ^^

JLeslie's avatar

@_Whitetigress If you have seen me around fluther I am very critical about doctors sometimes, including agreeing with @rosehips that many doctors know very little about nutrition (partly because medical science has not proven some things in nutrition yet) but I absolutely, unequivocally, disagree that doctors want to keep us sick. There is plenty of illness to go around they don’t need to go against their sworn oath to keep patients coming.

@rosehips what is round up ready crops?

@Judi I think they don’t want people to know, because they fear people will not eat their food when there is no medical reason to be afraid. Now, I am not saying there actually is not health reasons to worry; I actually have no idea or opinion on it. I have not really researched it at length, and I don’t even actually know what qualifies as genetically modified, as you can see from my first answer. I would try to avoid animal meat that is genetically modified probably, because I find it to be abusive. Many farms have chickens with huge huge breasts now from breeding, and they can barely hold themselves up to walk. I find that disgusting that we have done that to a living thing.

I am for transparency of information, I do thing the information should be easily available for consumers. Not sure if it has to be right on the package, but disclosure on a website, or at minimum if the information is requested would be nice.

Judi's avatar

FYI, if the first number on the fresh fruit or vegetable code is a 9 and 5 didgets its organic. If its an 8 it’s genetically modified.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi Great tip!

Unbroken's avatar

@JLeslie round up ready is just an example. But it is a herbicide ready crop. Since round up is a defoliant that has gotten progressively stronger over the years, it is necessary to have seed that won’t die when exposed to it. If you want a parallel it’s akin to the problem of super bugs. Create a stronger posion concoction to kill an evolving weeds. And we wonder why bees are dying. Ever notice how many people around you have gastrointestinal problems, young and middle age? Or other problems we link to people who are unhealthy. Excema, hair loss, early onset arthritis to name a few. Kidney or liver problems..
Due to patent issues there are few unbiased and scientifically sound studies done. However there have been studies. And the results depend on who is funding the testing. There have been articles detailing people highly exposed to the crops a before and after. I could go on. It is not as simple as avoiding gmo as defined as being anything other then hybrids. They are put in almost every food product. I for example can tell when I have consumed any gmo corn product. Which sounds like a ridiculous claim but it is completely true. I am highly reactive to that type of corn though non gmo corn presents no issue for me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?pagewanted=all

BhacSsylan's avatar

First of all, @_Whitetigress, no. Just… no. There is not some grand doctor conspiracy to keep people sick. That’s one of the more disgusting and baseless conspiracies I have heard. No, doctors don’t want people sick. People get sick all on their own, and will continue to do so for centuries more. There is essentially no profit motive to keeping people sick.

@rosehips First of all, GMOs have not been conclusively linked to any major dietary problems. There has been one italian study that showed possible connections, which has since been shown to be terrible science (for instance, a lack of proper controls, overfeeding the test mice (which is already known to cause similar problems in this strain of mice) and not the control mice, and inflation of results). It was a bad study by a group already known to be biased against GM foods.

Second, your first link? From a Dr. Mercola? Just so everyone else here knows, he’s a quack. He thinks microwave ovens are dangerous, denies the HIV leads to AIDS, opposes pretty much all standard pharmaceuticals, is an anti-vaxxer, and thinks sunscreen causes skin cancer, among other widely discredited views. I would take anything peddled by him with a massive grain of salt.

And while I oppose Monsanto, I oppose them because their business practices are amazingly predatory and highly immoral (if not also illegal in many cases). There is also a good chance that their practices are harmful to the environment (and I have no particular problem with labeling them as anti-environment), however this is a different issue then human organ failure, by a long shot. There are studies that can be done, and have been done. You can go and buy GM food from a grocery store and test it, this has been done. We can test the chemical composition of various foods very, very accurately, as well as test them on live animals. The scientific consensus is that they are not harmful to human health.

Also, bees dying? That’s even more off base. We still don’t know exactly what causes colony collapse disorder, however it is in fact becoming less prevalent, thankfully, despite increased usage of the various GMO crops and products you’re fear-mongering about. In fact, the most recent evidence points to possible contribution (not cause, but contribution) from neonicotinoids, pesticides based on nicotine which have been in use by centuries. The use has heavily increased as a result of an increase in ‘organic’ farming, and so these ‘natural’ pesticides may be causing many unforseen problems. A better example of the results of the naturalistic fallacy i couldn’t ask for.

To the question, this is exactly why there are opponents of Prop 37. Yes, the public has a right to be informed. And in a general sense, I would not necessarily oppose labeling. Labeling is good. However, bad regulations, coupled with fear mongering based on bad science, is not the way to go.

And yes, it is a ridiculous claim, @rosehips. Have you had it tested by a trained medical doctor? Because you could do a lot if you got it tested and confirmed. But there have been hypochondriacs for centuries. There are people who claim allergies to WiFi waves. And yet as soon as you actual control and test it, it’s shown to be nothing. Self-reporting in this way is fundamentally flawed, and means nearly nothing.

I’m sorry to be harsh, but I have a short fuse for those peddling bad science and scare tactics.

Rarebear's avatar

@BhacSsylan Holy crap. GA. Thanks. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh man, I love Dr. Mercola. He is too extreme for me, I don’t buy into everything he says. But, his basic premise that medical science typically focuses on treating symptoms and not underying causes is a complaint I have had my entire adult life.

@BhacSsylan very interesting about the bees! I need to look that up. I was under the impression myself that it was chemical pesticides possibly messing up their orientation. The nicotine info is completely new to me, and if true, the media really failed to report the bee concern in an accurate, fair way.

gailcalled's avatar

I just checked out Dr. Mercola’s site out of curiosity.

He cites claims and studies and suppositions in grandiose language but then backs them up with these. ” Researchers reviewed data from 19 studies and found that parameters including blood and urine biochemistry and organ weights were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals.”

See below for the only references he lists, after the article, (in a separate link). I checked out the Institute for Responsible Technology and discovered that the founder and head, Jeffery M. Smith is a self-proclaimed author and expert. No more details available. (BA and BS from Evergreen State U.)

A typical review of his “bestseller’ book on GMO’s reads, ’“Largely based on unsubstantiated anecdote and vague studies by anti-GM groups, whilst at the same time ignoring the many independant peer-reviewed papers that show his many ‘facts’ to be incorrect at best and completely fabricated at worst.”

Source

Environmental Sciences Europe March 1, 2011
Institute for Responsible Technology April 7, 2011
Forbes April 11, 2011
The Telegraph April 2, 2011
PLoS One March 16, 2011; 6(3):e17593

There are serious issues here but we need to pay attention to what we pay attention to.

Unbroken's avatar

Ha ha. I leave for the day and come back to a severe bashing. Take it in stride. I sort of deserved it. I made some gross errors in my haste and passion on this topic.
I had no idea who Dr. Mercola is and have not read any of stuff prior to that article. I was simply trying to quickly find a source I could cite that would give a quick overview of a lot of the concerns, since this is a multifaceted issue the knowledge I have collected on this is not something easily condensed. And I really didn’t have the time yesterday to give the proper attention to it. But couldn’t resist given my passion for it.
The bee statement was also an ignorant claim.
But I am not a hypochondriac. To assure you of that given my prior claims I will give a short bio. Try to keep it brief because I could go on for hours. I am a 26 year old with Autoimmune Hepatitis, it differs from regular hepatitis in that it is my body that is attacking my liver and it won’t stop. I never went to the doctor prior to this episode and waited to go to the doctors until I could no longer function. I fought the fact that I was actually sick for years after the diagnosis and still at times have trouble with that aspect. I am know in the doctors at least once a month often more labs biophsies etc. Because of my own stubbornness or at least partially due to it I have been informed it is just a matter of time until I need a liver transplant. I have cirrhosis. I have also dealt with several other problems associated with the diagnosis. Ascities, ibs, chrone’s disease, leaky gut to name a few, all of which I have pulled myself back to health from and have to take no medication to maintain them. Fail to see the correlation, hold on. I had a flare up a couple of years ago ended up going to Mayo and was also diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease. My doctor here although the best gastroenterologist in town has no knowledge or desire to recognize this as a diagnosis and after I was diagnosed I had to go to a holistic doctor to learn enough about nutritional supplements etc and things to avoid so I could get to the point where I could self educate myself. I have gone back at times, because I was feeling to sick to do a food elimination diet to diagnose several food allergies and sensitivities.

But after years of ignoring and separating myself from pain in body I now listen. I don’t always keep a food journal but do when I feel is necessary in order to be able to recognize and tie symptoms to food as well as be able to identify food products that have some sort of contamination. I do not make claim to feel the effects of GMO soy or beets or what have you. But my brain gets foggy, I get impulsive and irritable, want to binge eat and experience generalized inflammation when exposed to GMO corn. I first realized this when I was having a reaction to some gluten free vegan brownies I made. I used no GMO beet sugar but also xanthamen gum to create the consistency and stickiness. I could not figure out was causing the problem. I eventually figured out that the xanthamen gum is contains GMO corn. I then tested out the theory and it proved itself. The end.

As to the rest I will have to reply later. Monsanto isn’t evil it is a huge corporation that indeed is almost a monopoly and has tons of money. They do not care for the consumer, the environment or corruption, they thrive on it. And the only ones fighting back are biased. Because they care. And there is no way not to be alarmed or unbiased in the face of what Monsanto is doing. Deep pockets protect the Monsanto and all Monsanto has to do is provide reasonable doubt into studies and tests when they do everything they can to impede or block the process from independent testing. There are no long term studies done.
So yes there is a question to just how safe and what effects long term use would have on the population. But do you really want to consume foods that implode pests on the assumption that your digestion system breaks down and kills that process. Because over half the food Americans eat contains some form of GMO and it will only get worse if we let it. Even if you do want to take that gamble, then do you want to expose your children and grandchildren to that?

http://www.garynull.com/home/could-prop-37-kill-monsantos-gm-seeds.html

BhacSsylan's avatar

There are long term studies. They’re negative. They also can test for the chemical composition, which they have done, and show no major changes except those expected (such as higher vitamin content).

Also, you mean Xanthum Gum? Because it’s produced by bacteria. It can be grown on corn, however the actual ingredient is made by bacteria. And how do you know it’s not the gum you’re allergic to?

Here’s the thing: there is almost no major difference that can be detected between most GMO corn and ‘normal’ corn. What do you think is causing the reaction? The extra genes that allow round-up resistance? Because those would be present in similarly altered beets, as well. And any GMO? Or just round-up ready? What about those GMed to have higher production? Or higher nutritional content? How do you know the xanthum gum you got was actually produced on GMO corn? You don’t. It just could be. This reaction could be easily tested by a trained doctor (no, not a ‘holistic’ doctor checking for ‘sensitivities’, which have also been shown to be scams or at least highly subjective). Do allergen tests for various food products, it’s not hard. A food journal is handy but hardly conclusive. Hell, what if you’re just allergic to corn?

And these: “brain gets foggy, I get impulsive and irritable, want to binge eat and experience generalized inflammation” are incredibly, incredibly vague symptoms, and easily linked to placebo effect instead of a real reaction.

@JLeslie Mercola is a quack, full stop. First, that claim is not true is so many different ways, and when it is true (say, type 1 diabetes or other chronic disorders) Mercola’s supplements do no better, and many times can severely hurt patients, or at the very least can stop them from seeing doctors with real medication, worsening conditions (see also: Steve Jobs). In many cases, things clear up on their own, and so ‘treating the symptoms’ is just fine (such as the common cold). In other cases, you can’t treat the underlying disorder (until we can, say, regrow beta cells for the diabetes patient), so treating the symptoms is the best we’ve got. But there is also research going on to try and do that (such as stem cell research for this example. Oh noes! Genetic manipulation!) so claiming we’re not is just plain false and Mercola’s fear-mongering and snake oil only serves to distract and detract from those efforts. And lastly, how about smallpox, which is all but dead now thanks to science, or polio, which is soon to join it (unless antivaxxers get strong enough to thwart the efforts in that direction) or antibiotics or antiviral drugs which can now kill many things. Or how about surgery to remove a tumor? Is that only ‘treating the symptoms’? The claim is baseless, and he’s a quack.

BhacSsylan's avatar

As to the bee thing, @JLeslie, neonicotinoid pesticides are chemical pesticides. They all are. However, this is rather recent news, and colony collapse disorder is extremely complicated and is a combination of symptoms and has a combination of causes (hence my stressing that neonicotinoids may contribute, not cause). Here is where I heard about it, which goes over a recent study on the matter. It’s not that they haven’t reported on it properly if they missed that, it was not known until March. And then it was reported in the NYT. However, the NYT article has some errors and I’d suggest sticking with the first site for a better opinion (the writer there is an actual etymologist)

Unbroken's avatar

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-340-XANTHAN%20GUM.aspx?activeIngredientId=340&activeIngredientName=XANTHAN%20GUM

Xanthan Gum is not made all alike, there are somebrands apparently Bob’s Red Mill that should technically be safe for me to consume. I have not tried them.

As to why I know it is the xanthan gum because I moniter my food and drink in take even when I don’t keep a food journal. I am not perfect sometime I do consume foods I am not sure about but when there is a problem that I can’t identify I go back to a strict diet of foods that I have no reaction to. Whole foods mostly, no processed foods. Rice, quinoa rinsed. Vegetables and fruits I cook myself and with gluten free spices no eating out. My protein is local high quality gluten free. Caribou bison or lamb meet. EEVO oil normailly, though sometimes I go for almond oil or some other healthy oil that passes the quality control.

After eating like this for a two weeks and feeling better I will add in the ingredient in small doses I am wondering about. This case I found that while I could eat non gmo corn I could not eat corn products that weren’t gmo free.

As to the food sensitivities. Igg and Ige testing is what I do I questioned the doctors because yes it’s scince isn’t fool proof and she said to use it as a guide. After doing so I found I was better in a multitude of very real ways. When I eat dairy, whey, casein and lactose I get food comas. I get inflamed. The way I determine whether I have consumed a small dose of it is my eyes get very puffy underneath and now I have a red dot that is just below my eye. So far it doesn’t itch or have developed into anything worse but I feel like it will eventually develop into a rash. I have had a rash on my stomach that appears when I start slipping. It has been itchy and cracks and peels. Why do I follow these guidelines when not strictly based on science. Because I see results. And brain fogginess and irritability is vague until you repeatedly lock your keys in your car or leave them in the door and look for them for two hours have a hard time grasping concepts or concentrating at work can’t focus on more then or two sentences jump from one topic to the other and everything takes incredibly long. Or have mass cramps and lactic acid build up even though you stay fairly active. I could go on the point is. I won’t convince you. I don’t have to. You already said you won’t believe self reporting and already have judged me off my rocker. I am not claiming to be perfect or have all the answers. It is incredibly difficult for me to seperate something that has consumed my life so completely and make an impartial arguement.

So I will wrap up by conveying you are what you consume. And yes prices may go up temporarily but in a consumer based market it will adjust and more products and companies will see the benefit of developing products and lines. And competition will help dictate price.

I would like to add that while my medical doctor helped me stay alive my naturopath helped me live. To solve issues like hair loss and bloating and getting my period back etc. I say they are both important.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Igg and Ige testing is non-scientific, and ”These tests lack both a sound scientific rationale and evidence of effectiveness. The lack of correlation between results and actual symptoms, and the risks resulting from unnecessary food avoidance, escalate the potential for harm from this test.” If your doctor is suggesting it, you should find a better doctor (no, not a naturopath. A doctor).

And your food avoidance, again, is completely subject to bias. You know precisely what you’re adding, so it is entirely possible, and highly probably given your symptoms, that it is not a real reaction.

I don’t say this to be mean. I’m not saying that what you’re feeling is not real. But I am saying that what you’re attributing it to is most likely wrong, or at least misguided. This is perfectly normal, I’ve made similar mistakes. We all do, we’re human.

And yes, we are what we consume. That’s why you should have a complete diet and not severely restrict what you’re eating, cutting yourself off from needed nutrients because an unscientific test told you to.

Unbroken's avatar

We have gone on a tangent.
I face skepticism and often ignorance quite regularly. While it is frustrating, I understand.

As to the misguided claim, well I could refute you a number of ways. Truth be told when I got the results I set them aside and ignored them. As issues compounded I relented and found the results worthwhile. My hair stopped falling out and started growing back, emerging rashes went away, bloatedness disappeared and more, I no longer was sleeping 10 to 12 hours or falling asleep every time I sat down. Is that the work of placebo effect? Well if it is more props to placebos. Do I think I can convince you. No, the only way you can begin to understand is if someone close to you or yourself went through it. But I don’t wish that on anyone.

As to nutrients. I am not a nutritionist but have done a fair amount of reading on the subject. I do agree a varied diet is important esp with leaky gut. Which is when your intestines are permable and undigested food leaks through the wall into your bloodstream prematurely.

I have a better diet then average American. I eat seasonal fruits and vegies get monounsaturated fat from avacados etc sugar through honey molasses and fruits. Carbs from rice quinoa and vegies. Nuts beans and berries tea fish game meat flax seed chia seeds etc. Yogurt and such have dairy replacers I make sure to stay hydrated. The food elimination thing is short term and I don’t use it more then I have to it is unpleasant.

So if I am deluding myself dispite the hardships, I would say it is worth it. The medical field has yet to provide all the answers until it can all I can do is make the decisions that work best for me. As to broadcasting it. If I think there is a way it could help others I submit it is remiss of me not to. They always have the option of rejecting it as you do.

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Rarebear's avatar

Back to topic. Vote no. It increases costs to consumers and is bad for farmers.

JLeslie's avatar

Interestingly, California leads the US in organic farming. I found this article. I have a feeling a crop can be genetically modified and organic.

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Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on 37 if you want small farmers to go out of business and food prices to go up.

Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on 37 if you are in favor of making poor people pay more for their food and potentially having them go hungry.

Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on 37 if you are in favor of more beurorocracy.

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Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on 37 if you are anti science.

JLeslie's avatar

I would vote no on prop 37 after thinking about and reading this discussion. It is too unclear to me what is organic and modified still to begin with. I think there is too much misunderstanding about it.

Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on 37 if you want deceptive labeling on your food.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear Why do you think it is deceptive?

Rarebear's avatar

All food is genetically modified.

Rarebear's avatar

Vote yes on prop 37 if you are in favor of special interests bypassing government and bankrolling law changes for their own interest

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear I just was thrown by the word deceptive. It doesn’t seem deceptive to label something genetically modified if it is. I do think the public might get all freaked out for nothing, because of lack of understanding.

Rarebear's avatar

Okay then you need to label everything. Even organic apples are genetically modified.

Unbroken's avatar

they are hybridized which is a natural process. not genetically modified

Rarebear's avatar

Hybridizing is not a natural process. It is genetic manipulation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear Remember, I am with you about not labeling.

Rarebear's avatar

@JLeslie I know. I was responding to @rosehips in my second post.

Unbroken's avatar

Can you show me your reference for that? Everything I have read either makes the distinction of genetic modification and or some prefer genetically engineered as more accurate as being made in a lab.
While hybridization, grafting or crossbreeding happens, with the exception of grafting, in nature without our help, so being that we interfere and selectively cross breed is technically natural selection. And to further distingush it doesn’t require a lab.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Why should people have to wait for scientific evidence that GMO’s cause bad health issues to humans when it can just be avoided altogether, by labeling in the first place? It’s not like the general public had a real choice in how farmers should farm in the first place. I think these new production methods kind of just happened and was accepted. What makes it so worthy to protect these farmers methods?

flo's avatar

People should be able to avoid any product for whatever reason. Give me the info, and then I’ll decide what to do with it. It got defeated I hear. The GMO people spent tens of millions of dollars, to make it happen.

Rarebear's avatar

” It got defeated I hear.”

Thank goodness.

flo's avatar

But that is because people got misled. What about the rest of the post @Rarebear, that is more important that what you repsonded about.

Rarebear's avatar

I don’t care who funded it. I’m just glad my food prices aren’t going up.

flo's avatar

I thought the excuse was supposed to be that the public is too dumb to know what it means. Now it is because it would raise the price of the food? Anyway, would rather have the info and maybe shop around for the best price, than being told you can’t have the info.

The fact that they are trying to hide the info makes it look there is something to it.

Who votes for less knowledge/no knowledge is my question.

Rarebear's avatar

There were many reasons to vote no.

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