The Politics of Eating, Prop 37: What Would Michael Pollan Do?

I don’t ever like to get too political on this blog, unless it concerns the politics of food. Even then, I rarely delve into that arena, so I intend to keep this entry short and sweet. But I do have to discuss California’s Prop 37, which is on the ballot this November. In a nutshell, Prop 37 would bring added transparency to the foods sold here in California, by forcing producers to label most products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Politics of Eating, Prop 37: What Would Michael Pollan Do?Rather than get into the science of GMOs — or the debate about whether or not GMOs are environmentally friendly — I think it’s important to step back and simply consider what’s really at stake: The consumer’s right to know what he or she is eating. And that’s it.

Prop 37 is simply about information, and when you look at the companies that are against this initiative, there’s legitimate cause for concern. As of today, some of America’s biggest corporations — such as Monsanto, ConAgra, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi — have outspent the supporters of Prop 37 by a margin of about seven to one. That statistic alone should seem awfully fishy to anybody who’s wise to the ways to the world. If you haven’t ever heard of Monsanto (or GMOs), then I really suggest reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. But then again, maybe reading a 400-page book is simply too much to ask, even if this same book won scads of awards in 2007. In that case, just google “Monsanto” and read some of the articles that have been written recently (and when Google auto-populates your search with “monsanto evil,” don’t be surprised).

So, what would Michael Pollan do? He would obviously vote Yes on Prop 37, and I assume that he will do so come November. This piece of California legislation would be the first of its kind in the United States, and it could enact change on a nationwide level (as California’s politics tends to do). But for more information on this initiative, please visit public television’s KCET.

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