The Truth About Proposition 37—Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods

I knew the battle over prop 37 would be heated, tough, and ugly. But I was not expecting biotech companies and food manufacturers to stoop as low as they have and spend a million dollars a day doing so. We’ve all heard the saying, “money talks.” In the case against prop 37, money not only talks, it also lies. Here is the truth about the false claims and inaccuracies surrounding prop 37.

Claim: It will increase the cost of food by “$400 dollars per year for a typical family.”

The truth is we will probably see no change in the cost of food just as they saw no increase in the cost of food in the European Union (EU) when they labeled genetically engineered foods. David Byrne, the former commissioner for health and consumer protection for the EU, said that labeling genetically engineered foods in Europe “did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.” Additionally, when food manufacturers in the U.S. were forced to label trans fats in 2008, we saw no increase in food costs. Thus, there is no reason why we would have an increase in food costs from labeling genetically engineered foods under this proposition. For more information, see here.

Claim: It is “full of special interest loopholes and exemptions.”

Prop. 37 is simple, it labels genetically engineered foods that are sold in the grocery stores. California law only allows one issue to be addressed by ballot propositions so the food in grocery stores was chosen since it is what people eat the most. Prop 37 only covers foods that are genetically engineered and not animals that eat genetically engineered foods. This explains why dog food would have a label, since it is made with genetically engineered corn, but beef would not since it is not genetically engineered. It is the same issue with soy milk, which would be labeled because soy is genetically engineered, but milk is not. For more information, see here.

Additionally, Dr. Henry I. Miller, who is featured in the commercial about exemptions, does not work at Stanford University. Rather, he is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, which sits on the Stanford campus, but is not a part of the university. Dr. Miller is a long-time front man for big tobacco and big oil, has called for the reintroduction of DDT, and even stated that the people around the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster “may have benefited from it.” The bottom line is he has zero credibility.

Claim: Prop 37 authorizes “shakedown lawsuits.”

Actually, it was written to provide no economic incentives for lawyers to sue. Prop 37 does not give any penalties from labeling violations to consumers or lawyers, unlike prop 65, which gives 25 percent of civil damages to the plaintiff. The person legally responsible for putting the label on a food item is the manufacturer, not the farmer and not the grocery store owner. For more information, see here.

Claim: Prop 37 “conflicts with science.”

In fact, there are a lot of unknowns about the safety of genetically engineered foods. There are some animal studies with negative findings. Both the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association state that GMOs should undergo mandatory safety testing. Even the 2012 American Cancer Societies Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity says, “…long-term health effects are unknown.” Until we know more, shouldn’t they be labeled? For more information, see here.

Remember who is behind the “no on 37” campaign. It is basically the companies that create genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and processed foods. This includes Monsanto, Pepsi, Dow, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s to name a few. Monsanto, one of the largest creators of genetically engineered seeds, also told us that DDT and Agent Orange were safe. Can we really trust what these companies say about prop 37? If you follow the money, you will see that that the biggest contributor to the “no on 37” campaign is Monsanto. Remember that when you see the negative ads on TV, such as this one, with “major funding from Monsanto.”

In addition, most of the newspapers that say “no on 37” are owned by the same company called MediaNews. Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund firm, has a large stake in the company. Alden’s parent company is Smith Management LLC, a privately owned investment manager. It sounds like their interest is Monsanto and other traded companies and not our right to know what’s in our food! See here for more information.

Over 50 countries around the world label genetically engineered foods. Some have banned them. The only reason they aren’t labeled in the U.S. is that companies that make genetically modified seeds, chemicals, and junk food don’t want you to know what you are eating. Prop 37 would put an end to that, but we need your help. Please vote YES on prop 37! We can win against these big corporations. While we don’t have a lot of money, we do have the power of the people. That means you! Please do what you can to get the correct information out and share this article with everyone you know in California. Thank you!

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Copyright © 2012 Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD. All rights reserved.

Five Superfoods Worth Adding to Your Diet

By Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD

Acai berries, coconut water, pomegranates, kale, noni juice, there is always some food that is in the spotlight. Sometimes they are worthy of the attention and sometimes not. There are many “super” foods that should be trendy but aren’t. Here are five that are worth adding to your diet.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is one of my favorite vegetables. For a leafy green and a cruciferous vegetable, it has a surprisingly mild flavor. It’s low in calories; 1 cup has only 9 calories. It contains thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates; all of which help to decrease your risk of cancer. And it is a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene. As I mentioned in my post about calcium supplements, it’s a great source of calcium that’s easy for your body to absorb.  Just 1¼ cups is equivalent to one glass of milk. It’s tasty, versatile, and healthy. Why isn’t everyone talking about it?


Parsnips are a great substitute for the potato. They are high in fiber, and have a low glycemic index (which means they don’t make your blood sugar go up quickly). They are also a good source of vitamins C, K, and folic acid. And they are really delicious. Try roasting them with rosemary, garlic, and a little olive oil at 395° until tender, about 20 minutes. You can also add them to soups and stews.


Barley contains eight of the essential amino acids, lots of fiber, and a host of vitamins and mineral including niacin, B vitamins, vitamin E, and selenium.  A recent study found that eating whole-grain barley can help keep blood sugar low after a meal compared to white rice or even whole-grain products. Barley also helps lower cholesterol. You can use it in soups, stews, in place of rice with a meal, or even as a breakfast cereal. Make sure to buy hulled or dehulled barley which is the whole-grain version and avoid pearl barley which has most of the fiber and nutrients removed.


I think beans are fantastic. They are high in both water-soluble and water-insoluble fiber. They help to lower cholesterol, cheaply and healthfully get rid of constipation, and make you feel full and therefore eat less. And their vibrant color means they are packed with health-promoting antioxidants and other phytochemicals. They are a great protein source and a good source of folic acid and iron.  Try pinto, black, garbanzo, kidney, navy, or great northern white beans. If you get canned beans, look for “low sodium” on the package or rinse the beans to get rid of some salt. Also check out the canned beans at Trader Joe’s where you get a good price on organic beans and their cans don’t have BPA (Bisphenol A), a compound that can mimic estrogen and may be associated with health problems.


Onions contain flavonoids and allyl sulfides, both of which may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease for people who eat a lot of them. Thankfully, that is easy to do since onions can add flavor and interest to an otherwise boring meal. Try adding a small amount of fresh red onion to salads and sandwiches. You can also caramelize onions by cooking them slowly on the stove using medium heat with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Caramelized onions are sweeter and can be added to foods such as vegetables or beans.  You can also chop an onion, bake it, and add an oil-free version to your foods.

Why isn’t everyone talking about these foods? How about trying one or more today? And don’t forget to buy organic!

Copyright © 2012 Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD. All rights reserved.