Dear No on 105 Coalition: Please clear up my confusion regarding your position on Proposition 105. In the giant, very expensive, glossy advertisement that I received in the mail, you suggest that the reason we should not pass this proposition is that it will not do enough to label foods properly. However, in the same advertisement you claim that this labeling will actually cost producers much more, and that this is the reason we should not support this proposition.
Let us begin with the idea that this proposition will not do enough to label foods that come from GMO crops. You cite the following foods that would not be labeled: Meat and dairy products from animals raised on GMO feeds, foods and beverages sold by restaurants and alcoholic beverages.
What you must understand about reality is that there is not enough clean grain in this country to feed even a small portion of the meat and dairy products that we eat. If you want truly organic meat and dairy, you must find a farmer who provides it locally. Also, of the products you have listed, many of them are on what is called the 606 List which is a list of products not required to be organic to go into organic foods. (As an example, hops for organic beer just came off the 606 list in 2013, opening the market for organic hops growers in Colorado, which currently has about 10,000 acres in organic hops but can sustain over 80,000 acres. How could this be bad?)
Citing that the proposition is not strong enough is like saying that we shouldn’t have laws at all. It is the first of such a proposition in this state, this is the way laws go; they begin at a starting point and, if it turns out it’s not strong enough, then we put forth another proposition. This is the way lawmaking works in America.
Citing that this will make food costs higher is just asinine. Labeling is already something that is required for all agricultural products. I seriously doubt that adding three letters onto the label that is already there is going to cost all that much more. The Colorado Department of Agriculture is already a very effective government organization fully set up to handle the regulations as they change through the years.
Citing that this will cost taxpayers millions is also asinine, especially with your statement that, “Studies of similar measures in other states have concluded that inspection-based enforcement programs could require up to 200 new full-time government employees, costing taxpayers more than $22 million annually.” There is so much wrong with this statement from a logical viewpoint that it is difficult to break it all up:
• Similar measures in other states: What measures? How similar? Same, different, how? Who did the studies? Which states did they study? Which programs did they study? Without this information this statement is empty.
• Inspection-based enforcement programs: You mean like the ones that keep salmonella and botulism from your foods every day? Inspection-based enforcement programs are what keep us safe from corporations who don’t care. (Because in spite of what you may have heard, corporations only care about making money.)
• Two-hundred new full-time government employees: This is a bad thing? Employing 200 new people in Colorado is somehow going to break the bank? You’re the same people who don’t think the education system needs more money, aren’t you?
• Costing taxpayers more than $22 million annually: 22 million divided by 5,268,367 (the population of Colorado) = $4.18 per person annually. I think I can swing that.
On the back of our glossy advertisement you have quoted three people:
• Amber Clay, nutrition educator, who tells us that this proposition would cost Colorado farmers millions for separate packaging and labelling. How do her qualifications as a nutrition educator qualify her to make this statement? As a family farmer (which I am as well) she has no reason to say this — it just doesn’t apply to small farmers in the same way. Are we being told that farmers have already harvested these crops (that have yet to be planted) and mixed them all up together and now they will have to spend time and money sorting the produce? (Wrong.) I am not aware of any farmers currently planting both organic seed and GMO seed on their properties.
• Vicki Schlagel, sugar beet farmer, tells us that sugar from GMO sugar beets is the same as sugar from non-GMO beets and is also the same as sugar from sugar cane. Both of these statements are grossly untrue, to the point of being actual lies. I don’t doubt that Vicki has been told this by the people that provide her with GMO seed, but it’s still a lie. There has only been one study done so far on lab rats that took the entire life of the rats, about two years. (The other longest study was 10 weeks.) In the lifetime study of rats eating GMO foods, 100 percent of the rats got cancer. This is apparently what happens when we eat food with poison designed into them.
• Don Ament, former agricultural commissioner, tells us that this proposition will require foods to be labelled GMO even when they are not. First of all, this guy did not do a whole lot of good when he was the commissioner, which is why he is the former commissioner. Second, this statement is another absolute lie. I would love to know if someone told this to Mr. Ament, or if he just made it up.
Just as a final word, no one should be voting for or against anything sent to you on a large, glossy advertisement because the only people with enough money to pay for that kind of thing are not interested in your health, well-being or financial stability. Please use your logic, please use your head and please do not believe unquestioningly that the “big guy” is there for you – he’s not. When he tells you that this will cost you more money, go home and do some research to make sure he’s not blowing hot air up your skirt.