On November 6th, Californians will go to the ballot box to determine the future of food. Proposition 37—The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act—requires clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically engineered. If passed, it wouldn’t ban GMOs, just require producers to clearly state on the label that a certain product contains genetically modified ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I like to know what’s in the food I eat and feel that we should all be allowed to make a personal choice regarding the consumption of GMOs, something that will not be possible without this legislation. In the rest of the world, over 50 countries label genetically engineered food already.
For people who have devoted their lives to food, this issue is of utmost concern, which is why Alice Waters, chef, author, and proprietor of Chez Panisse, has called on fellow chefs nationwide to join her in supporting California’s Proposition 37.
In a recent letter, posted online, Waters urged her colleagues and friends to stand together as chefs, restaurateurs, and people who care about food to support Proposition 37, stating: “On November 6th, the future of food is at stake at the ballot box… this is our moment to do something really important for everyone on this planet… People around the world are watching to see how we respond.”
In a few short days, more than 1000 chefs have joined Waters’ call for support and have endorsed the petition, with more joining the effort daily, including: Dan Barber, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns; Mario Batali, Babbo, Del Posto, Esca, and many more; Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill; David Bouley, Bouley; Cat Cora; Jose Garces, Garces Group; Joyce Goldstein; Peter Hoffman, Back 40/Back 40 West; Hubert Keller, Fleur de Lys; Deborah Madison; Jacques Pépin; Charles Phan, Slanted Door, Out the Door, and Wo Hing General Store; Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora; Elisabeth Pruiett and Chad Robertson, Tartine and Bar Tartine; Andrea Reusing, Lantern Restaurant; Barton Seaver; Bill Telepan, Telepan; and hundreds more.
The Chefs’ Petition in Support of Prop 37 states:
As chefs, we are on the frontlines of feeding America and we have an enormous stake in ensuring transparency in our food system. It is our duty to nourish our guests, both in body and soul. However, we can’t prepare the best food we know how when information about the ingredients we purchase is hidden from us with labels that are missing basic facts. This includes foods that are genetically engineered or contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
While Proposition 37 does not require restaurants to label their food as genetically engineered, it provides chefs the ability to knowingly source ingredients made without GMOs.
Fifty countries around the world—representing more than 40 percent of the world’s population—already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90 percent of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered.
We demand the right to know what’s in our food and we are adding our collective voices to this movement!
If you live, and vote, in California, please come out on November 6th to cast your vote in support of this important measure. The food industry is viciously fighting Prop 37 (just take a look at this list of financial contributions to each side) and companies like Monsanto, DOW, ConAgra, Syngenta, Pepsi and Coca-Cola spend millions of dollars to defeat the measure. In truth, the only thing it would hurt would be their profit while we all have something much more important at stake—our health and our right to choose.