I know, I know. I push the farmer's point of view quite hard. In fact, even if I'm on a break from farming, these issues are dear to my heart.
So I plead with each and every Washingtonian reader of this silly little fangirl blog to please vote Yes on I522 and get those darn ballots turned in by the deadline tomorrow.
What does it mean? You've heard so many ads talking about how labeling GMO foods will hurt the small farmer.
It's simply not true. The small farmers are hurting anyway. Having to add a few little words on their product won't put them out of business unless they're headed that way anyway.
I've not met one single farmer in Kitsap County, where I've farmed for the past three years, who is against labeling GMO foods. Not one.
Labeling doesn't restrict these food manufacturers from making their products with the same ingredients they're using currently. Labeling just gives the customer more information that they may or may not use in choosing the foods they'll buy. And being a cynic, I'm going to assume it's just one more thing on food packaging that the average buyer will ignore, sort of like those famous buzzwords, "New and Improved."
I hold my opinions on GMO foods for many reasons, probably the most important one, which is woefully underdiscussed: food allergies. I suffer from an unconventional food allergy: fish. I can eat seafood, but I choose not to for fear of cross-contamination or "imitation" seafood (read: fish products) being snuck into my meals. Nobody believed me at first when at a young age, I tried to explain to my parents that I got sick every time I ate fish.
Now, if GMO producers get their way, they can sneak genes from any one living thing into another. There's no way to be warned of these things. If I'm eating a tomato, shouldn't I be able to be confident that I'm not eating peanuts or fish within that very tomato?
It may seem overdramatic or doomsday-ish to put it this way, but imagine an epidemic of unexplained illnesses that cannot be tracked to a single product or manufacturer because the actual illnesses are allergy reactions, brought on by genes spliced into foods that you thought were safe. Now what?
This is personal. I go out of my way to protect myself from things I know will make me sick. Most of us with food allergies, which are becoming more common, mind you, are very careful to avoid the things we know could kill us.
Some of the most common GMO crops out there are also those that are causing the ever-increasing allergy reactions we're seeing. Soy is a culprit I'd go after at length if I wanted to write a dissertation, but this is simply a friendly, though a little desperate, reminder to vote.
For whatever reason you have care or concern for our food supply, please don't listen to those sneaky chemical companies that are funding the No on I522 campaign. Yes on I522 will have little or no effect on the lives of most people, farmers included, and will be a good resource for those of us who choose to not live our lives in fear of secret ingredients in our food.
Look close, these are the people that say I522 will put farmers out of business: