We Have a Right to Know What's in Our Food

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Do you remember the saying "You are what you eat"?

I can remember that good ol' saying being thrown around constantly in my childhood years. But no one ever really explained to me what it meant. All the grown ups just liked saying it.

If you are what you eat, do you know what you are?

Do you know what you are eating? Do you really know what is in the food that you are eating?

For most of us, ignorance is bliss. The less we know, the better off we are. I certainly adopted that way of thinking for years. I know now that it was less about ignorance and more about lack of knowledge. I wasn't turning a blind eye. I was just clueless.

Like so many others, I thought that if a product is on my grocery store shelf, it's okay to eat it.

It wasn't until my now 6 year old would complain of a bellyache after each meal that it occurred to me that the food she was consuming could be the culprit.

Shortly after the bellyaches began, I was invited to attend this luncheon. The information I received at the luncheon would transform the way I approached food.

What I learned at this luncheon was astonishing. Did you know that most of the food on the shelves of our grocery stores contain some sort of toxic ingredients? Yep. Scary. From food dyes to artificial sweeteners to preservatives. You can bet that if it's in a box (with the exception of dried pasta and organic foods), it contains a chemical preservative. But it's all right there on the label for you to see.

Except for genetically engineered foods.

What is a genetically engineered food?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

It’s estimated that 70% of our food on grocery shelves contains GMOs, compared to only 5% in Europe. The early 1990s the FDA allowed all sorts of things into our food supply such as additives, preservatives, and GMOs. Since then we’ve had some significant changes to the health of our children. According to Healthy Child Healthy World these are stats about differences in illness in children since early 1990s.
There's been a 400% increase in food allergies in children. Do you recall attending elementary school with children who had food allergies? My guess is no. We never had peanut-free tables in the cafeteria. No one had allergies. But that was before the 1990s.
Asthma rates in children have increased 300%. ADHD rates have increased 400%, and autism rates have increased a staggering 1500%.
The prospect of understanding our food is overwhelming and intimidating. Many adopt a mantra of ignorance is bliss. But we have a right to know what's in our food. I certainly want to know what's in my food. Labeling is an issue we can all stand behind. Everyone has to eat. We should at least know what we are eating. Surprisingly, both Republicans and Democrats are equal supporters of labeling GMOs.
Currently California has an initiative on the ballot to label genetically engineered foods in packages. It’s Prop 37. #Yeson37 means that companies manufacturing packaged foods have till January of 2014 to re-label everything on grocery store shelves. Never before have the people had a chance to vote on this issue. Until today, it’s only been the legislature. BUT the opposition is spending in between $60-100 million to confuse the voters about what this is about. And we have a an uphill from now till November.

I have recently become part of the Evangelist Team supporting Prop. 37. This team is dedicated to reaching all Californians by November and eventually bringing this legislation to all 50 states. Don't you want to know what's in your food?

Would you like to join the Evangelist Team? Prop. 37 is enlisting the help of bloggers all over the United States and Canada to help educate everyone about the opportunity we have RIGHT NOW in November. If we can change the labeling laws in California we may be changing labeling all over the United States in the process. If everyone talks about the Prop. 37 online, we WILL reach most Californians.
We all have a right to know what is in our food. And supporting this proposition and reaching California voters is also a vote for the rest of the nation. Throwing some of your influence at this issue can really make a difference because it’s very likely that if this is passed in California, it will get rolled out nationwide by most companies. It would be cost prohibitive not to.
Here are some additional ways you can help.
1. Talk about this issue as much as you can from now till November. Use both hashtags #yeson37 & #labelgmos when doing so.
2. Help us get some celebrities on board. Tweet at who you think could really help us and ask them where they stand on the issue.
3. Help us recruit other Evangelists. You can tweet this message:
Passionate about labeling #GMOs? Join #CARighttoknow Evangelist Team to make a difference! http://bit.ly/NiCGV4 #yeson37
4. Join our twitter chat on August 10th from 10-11pm EST/7-8pm PST. SAVE THE DATE. (Post to come)
5. Write a post for us about Labeling GMOs the week of August 10th and let your audience know about our twitter chat
6. Share this post on Facebook.

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